The U.S. economy fell more sharply than previously estimated in the
first quarter, with negative growth of 2.9 percent, according to the
Department of Commerce. It was the worst quarter of productivity in five
Bad winter weather has been blamed for disrupting much business in
the first three months of the year, but the government report showed
other factors were at play, too. The expiration of unemployment benefits
after Congress did not act on an extension left many Americans with
less money to spend. Areas of weakness included exports, business
inventories, and health care spending.
The Commerce Department reported last month, with less complete data on hand, that Gross Domestic Product fell 1 percent.
Economists are predicting a good rebound in the second quarter and
later this year. Consumer confidence numbers for May were higher.