Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the announcement that GDP increased 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 (see chart here):
“The economy is growing, but not as fast as it needs to. It’s clear from the new GDP data that Congress must stay focused on creating private sector jobs and promoting economic growth.
“Today’s GDP number shows that the recovery which began in the third quarter of 2009 continues. However, the pace of economic growth slowed in the first quarter and is below what is needed to make sustained progress reducing the unemployment rate. Slower growth in exports and personal consumption and a significant increase in imports contributed to the slower overall growth in the quarter. The moderate GDP growth is a reminder that the recovery remains fragile and we need to do more to boost job creation.
“I am concerned to see that export growth was weaker than in recent quarters. As Chair of the JEC, I will examine policies which continue to promote American manufacturing and help American companies sell their products abroad. I’ll also work to ensure that our manufacturers are not harmed further by unfair trade practices, including Chinese currency manipulation.”
Highlights from the quarter include:
- Personal consumption increased 2.7 percent in the first quarter, down from a 4.0 percent increase in the fourth quarter.
- Exports of goods and services grew 4.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with an 8.6 percent increase in the fourth quarter.
- Imports of goods and services increased by 4.4 percent in the first quarter, after declining by 12.6 percent in the fourth quarter.
- Final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) – increased 0.8 percent in the first quarter, compared with a 6.7 percent increase in the fourth quarter.