Last week, first quarter U.S. economic growth was revised downward to a -0.7% annual rate. The revision, which was widely anticipated, was a result of a wider trade deficit and slower consumer spending. Economic activity has rebounded thus far in the second quarter, but the pace of growth has been underwhelming.
Disappointing growth conditions are nothing new to this economic expansion. The chart illustrates the pace of the current expansion compared to the average of the last 6 expansions. Clearly, the growth environment in recent years has been less robust than prior expansions.
There are a few takeaways from this slower-growth environment:
The Fed is unlikely to raise rates quickly against this sub-par growth backdrop;
High global debt levels remain a hindrance to growth; and
With conditions in the U.S. stronger than much of the world, the dollar is likely to continue trending higher. However, the greenbacks gains are putting increased pressure on industry, so the pace of gains is likely to moderate.