In fact, despite a multitude of challenges–slowing global growth, the partial government shutdown, trade policy uncertainties, a strong U.S. dollar–the U.S. economy grew a solid 3.1 percent at the annual rate in the first quarter. This was off slightly from the previous estimate of 3.2 percent growth, and it remained the strongest first quarter of growth since 2015.
Moving forward, the U.S. economy is expected to expand by around 2.2 percent in the second quarter, slowing from the pace at the beginning of the year. The current estimate is for 2.5 percent growth for 2019.
Manufacturing surveys from the Dallas and Richmond Federal Reserve Banks continued to indicate expansions in their districts, even as sentiment dipped into negative territory in the Texas report. Hiring and capital spending were encouraging in both releases, and as with other regional Federal Reserve surveys, respondents remained positive in their outlook.
Meanwhile, the IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI dropped from 52.6 in April to 50.6 in May, the weakest pace of growth since September 2009. Despite some slowing, manufacturers in the U.S. remained upbeat in their production outlook, even with some slippage in that measure. Input prices have also decelerated, with raw material costs expanding at the weakest pace since June 2017. The story was similar in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s district, which also reported a softer expansion in May for the second consecutive month.
Looking abroad, manufacturing activity in the Eurozone has now contracted for four straight months, led by weaknesses in Germany, which experienced sizable declines in orders, exports and output. In contrast, French manufacturers reported some stabilization in May.