"It does appear to be a one off," he said. Economists generally expect the current quarter to be the slowest growing of the year, and by the end of the year, the growth rate is expected to pick up to closer to first quarter levels.
Rupkey expects first quarter growth of 3 pecent, then a slowing to 1.5 percent in the second quarter; a pickup to 2.7 percent in the third quarter and then 2.9 or 3 percent in the fourth quarter.
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Ward McCarthy, Jefferies chief financial economist expects 2.4 percent growth, for the first quarter. "I'm below consensus. The economy slowed down a lot late in the quarter," said McCarthy. "The question is how much of that is going to be captured in the data. I think the risk is on the high side." The number will be revised twice by the end of June, as new data comes in.
"The first cut of GDP has a certain roulette wheel aspect of it. The weakness in the latter part of the first quarter is carrying into the second quarter. Second quarter is likely to be softer than first quarter, but I am also convinced that as time goes on it will generate more momentum," he said. He expects growth of 1.5 percent for the second quarter, 2.4 percent for third quarter and 3 percent for fourth quarter.
"Housing keeps doing better. We have developments in the energy sector that are exciting. There are certain components – inventories, government spending and trade that can make a big difference in the measured growth rate, but don't really tell you what's going on in the economy," he said.