On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a report chock full of weak growth figures and worrisome economic signals.The gross domestic product (GDP) dropped from last quarter's 3.0 percent to an anemic 1.9 percent. Over half of first-quarter growth came from automobile sales. When automobiles are removed from the calculation, the GDP grew at just 0.7 percent.
Second-quarter growth estimates of 2.0 percent growth, therefore, may be overly optimistic.
The number of Americans receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid stands at 3.3 million, a decline of just 15,000 individuals.
The government lowered its previous forecasts for consumer spending and export growth, suggesting the economy had a bit less momentum as it entered the second quarter than previously thought.
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, increased at a 2.5 percent rate in the first quarter, rather than the previously reported 2.7 percent pace.
With retail sales falling in April and May, consumer spending for the second quarter may prove softer.
The U.S. Department of Commerce defines the gross domestic product as "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."