The cold weather excuse isn't entirely unfounded -- this past winter was especially brutal in many regions of the country. But a robust post-recession recovery should be able to survive a tough season of weather. Furthermore, as Ed Morrissey notes, not every element of the Q1 report was gloomy. AEI's Jim Pethokoukis has been tweeting data points and projections that suggest the US economy will bounce back to some degree in the second quarter. Numerous experts don't expect a second consecutive quarter of negative GDP growth, which is the technical definition of a recession:
No recession | JPM: 4-week average for claims declined 11,000 to 312,000 in today’s report, reaching a new best for the expansion to date— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) May 29, 2014
"growth in the second quarter bouncing back to around 3.5% and remaining in the 2.5-3.0% range for the second half" - IHS Global— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) May 29, 2014
In the political realm, though, "not technically a recession" isn't exactly a winner. Even if US GDP hits three percent growth for the remainder of the year, the overall number will be dragged down by the terrible first quarter. It's hard to create enough jobs to keep pace with population growth in the midst of a tepid recovery. Plus, not every economist is buying the notion that a relatively strong and sustainable April-through-December expansion is guaranteed:
The trouble has been that as the Obama recovery has limped along, every ray of sunshine seems to be coupled with a dark cloud floating nearby. Look no further than last month's jobs numbers, which looked quite promising on the surface, but came with a major, distressing caveat. That's why Gallup's latest economic confidence measure remained flat and underwater (40/55) -- with a majority of Americans expressing the belief that the economy is getting worse, not better. Those results came out before today's spate of headlines about the Q1 contraction. So it's that prevailing sense of fragility -- be it weak improvement, stagnation, or decay -- that continues to hold down the president's approval ratings on economic issues. Let's revisit this week's Associated Press poll of adults, a pool that is typically more favorable to Obama than registered or likely voters:
AP/GfK: Obama approval on the issues- Economy 39-59 Budget 35-62 Immigration 38-60 Foreign Policy 42-56 Jobs 40-58 #LikeABoss— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) May 27, 2014
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography