Atlanta Fed Puts GDP at Just Above Zero for Q1

Written by Sandy Williams

Businesses expect costs from inflation to rise 1.7 percent over the next 12 months according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Respondents to the survey indicated their current costs are 1.5 percent higher than levels in April 2014. Sales and profit margins are normal or above normal according to those surveyed.

Over the long-term (5-10 years) unit costs are predicted to rise on average 2.7 percent annually.

In its most recently GDP analysis, the Atlanta Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said, “The first quarter was poor. That seems to be a new seasonal pattern. It’s been that way for about four of the last five years.”

First quarter GDP output in the past five years has grown 0.6 percent compared to an average of 2.9 percent for second, third and fourth quarters. The trend appears to be continuing again this year. The Atlanta Fed has first quarter GDP at just over zero for the first quarter.

Commenting on the GDP is Armada Executive Intelligence Brief: “The Atlanta Fed’s GDP NOW forecast has Q1 GDP currently trending at about .1%. This is still well below what you are seeing from Blue Chip economic forecasting which currently has GDP at a 1.5% growth rate for the quarter. Although there are still a number of new revisions that will be released concerning GDP and it could still increase as we go through the next four months, this is still a weak barometer for the start of the year. There is also a piece of this analysis that still has us puzzled, we are still waiting for the rebound to start in Q2. Most of our early April data is still coming in far too mixed for it to point to any sort of “snap back” from weaker, weather and West Coast impacted, economic activity in the first quarter.”

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