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Economy Continues to Advance

Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a healthy 3.2 percent pace in the first quarter, the third consecutive quarter in which the U.S. economy was on the mend. Personal consumption expenditures, investment -- primarily in rebuilding inventories and in equipment and software -- and exports were the major drivers of growth.

Though down from the fourth quarter's 5.6 percent growth rate, the economy is still expanding at a strong enough pace to create jobs faster than population growth is adding to the labor force, a trend that is expected to continue. This should help relieve high unemployment figures and give some relief to the landscape industry.

The employment situation will also improve as companies see the opportunity to increase output. In the early phase of a recovery, productivity growth is customarily high as businesses meet rising demand by getting more work out of their current employees.

Productivity growth in this year's first quarter fell to a rate of 3.6 percent, down from 6.3 percent in last year's fourth quarter, which was down from 7.8 percent in the third quarter. Nonetheless, first quarter growth still exceeded the post-World War II average of 2.3 percent leading into this recession and the 2.8 percent for the 10-year period prior to its start.

- Courtesy of NAHB

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June 26, 2019, 11:58 am PDT

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