Real GDP grows by only 1.5 percent in the second quarter

Real GDP — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of only 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.0 percent. The second quarter figure is an estimate, and is subject to possible revision.

The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected a deceleration in personal consumption expenditures, an acceleration in imports, and decelerations in residential fixed investment and in nonresidential fixed investment. These developments were only partially offset by an upturn in private inventory investment, a smaller decrease in federal government spending than in the previous quarter, and an acceleration in exports.

The decleration in personal consumption was significant. In the first quarter it increased by 2.4 percent; in the second quarter by only 1.5 percent.

The weak second quarter numbers aren’t a surprise. But if the downward trend persists over the next few months, Mitt Romney will have to be favored to win in November, I would think.

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