United States GDP fell by 1.4% in the first quarter

Despite inflation not seen since 1980, households continued to consume and businesses to invest. The country could therefore avoid a second quarter in a row of declining activity, synonymous with recession.

For the first time since the Covid-19 crisis, the US economy contracted in the first quarter of 2022. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 1.4% year on year compared to the last quarter of 2021 This bad figure was not expected and marks a serious reversal of the situation compared to the 6.9% growth at the end of 2021.

Exegesis of the figures, however, allows us to hope that the country will not technically go into recession, with a second quarter of decline in activity: despite inflation not seen since 1980, Americans continued to consume (1, 8 point of contribution to growth, up 2.7%), mainly in services, and companies, to invest (1.3 point of contribution, +7.3%): the two traditional drivers of growth would thus be solid. “The American economy, powered by working families, continues to resist in the face of historic challenges,” commented President Joe Biden.

The poor figure published Thursday, April 28 by the statistics office can therefore be explained by three other factors: the destocking of companies (0.8% negative contribution to growth), the reduction in public expenditure (– 0.5%) , while the various stimulus plans have come to an end, and, above all, the soaring US trade deficit (3.2 points of negative contribution). In detail, the Americans continued to import massively (+ 17.7%), in particular foreign automobiles, while national production is burdened by the shortage of microprocessors, while companies have resorted to foreign oil. Exports, which fell 5.9%, were hampered by the crisis in Ukraine and the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which affected external economies more than the United States.

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