Q1 2023 Economic Reports



The nation’s gross domestic product slowed dramatically in the first quarter, reflecting reduced production of goods and services that rose at a seasonally adjusted 1.1% annual rate in the first three months of the year. Nevertheless, the Q1 data released by the Commerce Department shows that consumers still are spending despite higher prices driven by high inflation, which the Federal Reserve is trying to stifle by raising interest rates. Spending on travel, restaurants and other services continues to rebound. Purchases of goods also rose after four straight quarters of declines. READ MORE>



Although non-farm U.S. employment gains totaled 236,000 in March and the 3.5% unemployment rate was little changed, job openings fell to their lowest level in nearly two years, a sign to some economists of an easing labor market. A loosening of employment conditions would be welcomed by the Federal Reserve. The central bank has raised interest rates nine times in the past year to slow the economy and hiring in order to reduce the rate of inflation. The Federal Funds Rate has increased from near zero to a range of 4.75% to 5%. Inflation has fallen to 5% after peaking in June at 9.1%. There were 9.9 million job openings in March, a decline of 632,000 jobs from the month before, according to the Labor Department. Nevertheless, the job market remains tight with 1.7 positions for every unemployed person, down from 1.9 openings. READ MORE>



The Federal Reserve increased interest rates twice in the first quarter, bringing the benchmark borrowing rate to a new 4.75%-5% target range – the highest since the mid-2000s – as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that the need for more tightening was increasing.

To combat inflation, the Fed has been trying to slow investment, spending and hiring. The U.S. inflation rate is 4.98% compared to 6.04% in February and 8.54% a year ago. READ MORE>


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