The economy grew 0.7 percent in Trump’s first quarter, data show

The Boston Globe | By Ana Swanson and Max Ehrenfreund
April 28, 2017

WASHINGTON – America’s gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, grew by just 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to government data issued Friday morning, an estimate economists say is more likely due to measurement error than Donald Trump’s performance as president.

Most economists had been expecting a lackluster growth report for the first quarter, with analysts surveyed by Reuters predicting the figure would be around 1.2 percent. But some expected more disappointing results, like the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which projected growth of just 0.2 percent.

The report contains the first official estimates of economic growth under Trump and was coincidentally released on the 99th day of his new administration. The president and his aides have tried to show demonstrable progress on his chief priorities, including economic issues, before the conclusion of his first 100 days in office.

Weaker growth is partly due to persistent measurement issues, which have caused the government to underestimate growth in the first quarter for many years – and reflected poorly on other presidents in their first quarter in office.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 and the final of former President Obama’s tenure, the economy grew by 2.1 percent, federal economists reported last month.

Most economists expect the figure to rebound in the second quarter. All the same, the disappointing figure suggests a potentially worrying gap between expectations for the new administration and the reality of how the economy is performing.

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