The Commerce Department today announced that the economy expanded by only 2.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, a tepid number that was below the 3.2 percent economists expected, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The mediocre growth suggests the economy is in for another lackluster year. And such a rate of growth will do almost nothing to alleviate unemployment. Job growth has been no more that what’s needed to keep up with population growth – meaning no net improvement – and marginal declines in the unemployment rate have been attributable mainly to people leaving the workforce.
As I’ve predicted, the White House tried to hang at least some of the poor performance on Republicans, whom it deems responsible for the sequester.
Said White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Kreuger in a written statement:
It is likely that the contraction in Federal defense and non-defense spending, at least in part, reflects the onset of sequestration. These arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come, and will cut key investments in the Nation’s future competitiveness.
What’s more, Krueger dipped into his makeup case and withdrew some lipstick to paint on the pig, saying the report “indicates that the economy posted its fifteenth straight quarter of positive growth.”
Which is a bit like when your son picks up a sock and tells you he cleaned his room.