U.S. GDP Shows First Contraction Since 2011

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Primarily reflecting a downward revision to private inventory investment, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing that U.S. gross domestic product decreased in the first three months of 2014.

The report showed that GDP fell by 1.0 percent in the first quarter compared to the initial estimate for a 0.1 percent uptick.

Economists had been expecting the revised data to show a somewhat smaller contraction of about 0.5 percent.

With the downward revision, U.S. GDP contracted for the first time since the 1.3 percent decrease seen in the first quarter of 2011.

The Commerce Department said the decrease primarily reflected a downward revision to private inventory investment and an upward revision to imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP.

A modest upward revision to the pace of consumer spending growth and a smaller than previously estimated drop in exports helped limit the downside.

Noting that inventories subtracted 1.6 percent from GDP compared to the initial estimate of 0.6 percent, Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, said, "The downward revision is almost entirely because inventories were a much bigger drag on growth than previously thought."

"But that bigger first-quarter drag means that we are likely to see a bigger bounce back in the second quarter," he added.

On the inflation front, the Commerce Department said its reading on core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, rose by 1.2 percent in the first quarter compared to the previously reported 1.3 percent increase.

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