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This year’s late winter East Coast blizzard serves as a reminder of how weather and other factors have had an uncanny ability to make the first quarter the weakest quarter in four of the seven full years of economic recovery we have had so far. This year’s first quarter also looks like it could be the weakest of the year, with our current estimate showing real GDP growing at just a 1.1 percent annual rate during Q1 . While the weather played a role in suppressing growth this year, it was not so much from the late winter blizzard as it was from the milder weather earlier, which cut utility use. The widening trade deficit also looks to have subtracted 0.5 percentage points off growth in the quarter and government spending declined.

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