Today, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that the gross domestic product grew by 2.5% between January and March of this year. While it's definitely higher than the 0.4% in the last quarter of 2012, this fell short of forecasts.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 3.2% annualized expansion... The economy has now grown for 15 consecutive quarters, but the average pace—just above 2% annually—is weak by historical standards. The primary driver of the faster growth was a pickup in consumer spending. Personal-consumption expenditures grew 3.2%, the best pace since the end of 2010."
The economists that Bloomberg News spoke to predicted about a 3% gain and the NY Times points out, "Economists have expressed concern that the pace of growth may have started out strong in 2013 but slowed by the end of the first quarter, given recent disappointing reports about economic indicators in March." And there's also the sequester: "In the first quarter of this year, government spending fell at an annual rate of 8.4 percent, after a decrease of 14.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012."
University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business professor Peter Morici told the Washington Post, "The economy is already slowing, and new crisis threatens."