Slowing from last year’s booming pace, the economy was weaker in the first quarter this year than it has been for 18 months, a change welcomed by analysts.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that gross domestic product, the government’s most comprehensive economic yardstick, grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the first three months of 1995. That is just over than half the 5.1 percent rate of expansion for the final quarter last year. The numbers are seasonally adjusted.
Analysts said that although the economy probably will prove to be even more sluggish in the current quarter, the new figures are encouraging and point to moderate growth and low inflation.
“It’s good news. It probably means we’re going to enjoy the economy as we see it for some time,” said David Munro of High Frequency Economics, a New York City forecasting firm.
A month ago, the government estimated that GDP grew at a 2.8 percent rate in the first quarter.
In another report, the Commerce Department said sales of new homes slipped 2.7 percent in April, the second drop this year, despite steadily falling mortgage rates. Purchases were down in all regions except the Midwest.