GDP Growth Estimate Ticks Down to 2.2% in Revised Reading

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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Wednesday issued its second revision to first-quarter 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) estimates. According to the BEA, U.S. GDP rose at a rate of 2.2%, adjusted for inflation and seasonally. That is down from a first estimate of 2.3%.

The second estimate was in line with the consensus estimate published by Bloomberg. In the fourth quarter of 2017, U.S. GDP rose by 2.9%.

The BEA attributed the downward revision to lower private inventory investment, residential fixed investment and exports, partially offset by an increase in nonresidential fixed investment.

Personal consumption expenditures growth dipped quarter over quarter from a first estimate of 2.7% to 2.6%.

The slight slowdown in consumer spending and the drop in residential construction were partly offset by business investment, primarily in software products.

Corporate profits from current production dipped by $12.4 billion in the quarter, and profits of domestic financial corporations increased by $2.2 billion, compared to a decrease of $14.6 billion in the prior quarter. Many financial institutions took substantial noncash write-downs in the fourth quarter related to changes in U.S. tax laws.

Taxes on corporate income dropped by $117.4 billion in the first quarter, reflecting the influence of the tax law changes enacted in December. Net dividends paid dropped by $1.1 trillion, which the BEA says reflects an increase in dividends received from the rest of the world. In this case, the “rest of the world” is a reflection of changes in U.S. tax law that eliminated taxes on repatriated profits from U.S. multinational corporations.

First-quarter wages and salaries rose by $119.5 billion, an upward revision of $3.1 billion from prior estimates.

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