Economy shrinks in first quarter

A report released Thursday indicated the first U.S. economic contraction since the initial pandemic crash in 2020.

Soaring imports and fewer exports drove the 1.4% decline in gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2022. Businesses also spent less restocking their shelves than they did at the end of 2021.

Is a recession on the way? Speaking at a Brookings Institution conference, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the economic turbulence did not come as a surprise.

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She said the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacerbated ongoing economic downturns and increased the likelihood of disruptions. But analysts say the drop in GDP does not signal a looming recession.

Americans continue to spend at high rates, thanks in part to rising wages. The job market remains strong, with the unemployment rate near a 50-year low of 3.6 percent. Inflation remains a significant concern.

Last month, prices jumped 8.5 percent from a year earlier, the fastest such rise in four decades.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2022, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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