Growth in the first quarter could be substantially stronger than the government reported.
Economists at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, building on research conducted by CNBC, found that if first quarter were seasonally adjusted properly, it would have been reported as 1.8 percent growth, not 0.2 percent.
The paper comes after CNBC reported results of an in-depth look at first quarter growth and found that it has been substantially weaker than the other quarters over a span of 30 years. The results were confirmed by four other economists at the time.
Since then, several other Wall Street and academic economists have come to similar conclusions and begun searching for the reasons and to figure what the right growth numbers should be. Barclays arrives at the same number of 1.8 percent growth as the San Francisco Fed for this quarter by using alternative seasonal adjustments. The bank says that some specific factors, such as fears over Europe or severe weather, can explain some of the first-quarter weakness. But they conclude that the first-quarter shortfall "is more systematic."