- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2009

The country’s gross domestic product — the output of U.S. goods and services — decreased 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday.

The drop follows a 6.3 percent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2008. The agency had projected a first-quarter decrease of 6.1 percent.

The agency attributed the first-quarter decrease to a slowdown in exports, the software industry, automobile manufacturing and commercial construction. The losses were offset by an increase in consumer spending of 1.5 percent.

RELATED STORY: Markets open with mixed response to shrinking economy

The Census Bureau reported Thursday the sale of manufactured durable goods in April increased $3 billion, or 1.9 percent, to $161.5 billion. The figure is an indicator of whether U.S. households are again buying such long-lasting and more expensive products as appliances and automobiles. It was the second increase in the past three months and followed a 2.1 percent decrease in March.

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