The U.S. economy accelerated in the first quarter, with GDP rising at a 6.4% annualized rate, slightly below the median expectations of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The growth was a nice jump from 4.3% in Q4, and was primarily driven by the consumer with personal consumption surging at an annualized rate of 10.7%, which was the second-fastest since the 1960s. This puts the total size of the economy, adjusted for inflation, still slightly below the pre-pandemic peak, but may soon fully climb out of the COVID-induced slump.
Following their latest FOMC meeting, the Fed commented on a stronger recovery noting improvements in labor and economic activity while still being “a long way” from tightening interest rates or asset purchases saying “We’ve had one great jobs report, it’s not enough.” During the press conference, 10-year Treasury yields fell slightly.
Initial jobless claims improved again, though slightly less than anticipated. The 540K new claims marks the best figure since COVID began and the third consecutive week post-COVID record-low claims.