The US economy grew at a solid 3.2% annual rate in the first three months of the year, up from 2.2% at the end of 2018, for a far better outcome than expected, per the AP. However, about half the gain reflected two factors not expected to last—a big jump in merchandise stockpiling by businesses and a sharp contraction in the trade deficit. Still, the GDP gain surpassed the 3% bar set by President Trump as evidence his economic program is working. It was the strongest first quarter growth rate since 2015. There had been fears growth could dip below 1% due to the December stock market nosedive, rising weakness in key economies overseas, the US trade war with China, and a partial government shutdown that ended in January. The economy shrugged off those concerns, helped by the January announcement of a pause in rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
Coverage is positive. Examples of lead paragraphs:
- New York Times: "Rumors of the economic expansion’s death appear to have been greatly exaggerated."
- Wall Street Journal: "The U.S. economy roared back in the first quarter, growing at a rapid pace despite multiple headwinds, suggesting the current expansion has more room to run amid its 10th year."
- MarketWatch: "Reports of the demise of the U.S. economy proved unfounded as first-quarter activity showed surprising strength. The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2% annual pace in the first three months of 2019, the government said Friday."
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