The economy grew at a 1.9 percent pace in the second quarter, the Treasury Department reported this morning. This is no cause for hosannas, to put it mildly, but since the economy grew at an 0.6 percent rate in the first quarter, the indications are that the United States is not moving toward a recession — defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth — but may instead be inching away from one. Credit is evidently due to strength in exports due to the weak dollar and the effect of income-tax rebates (which were also terrifically successful in 2001 and 2003). And yet here is how the home page of the New York Times, as of 9:51 am, characterizes this news:
G.D.P. Grows at Tepid 1.9% Pace Despite Stimulus
The economy grew less than expected from April to June, the government said on Thursday, and it shrank in the final months of 2007, dimming the outlook for a quick recovery.
It is true that a panel of economists consulted by Dow Jones had expected growth to come in around 2.3 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal. This only goes to show, yet again, that panels of economists are not terrifically good at prognostication. Or they might be, since these figures might be revised upward in a few months. Or downward. But even a severe downward revision would still keep the economy out of negative territory, at least for the time being. Which is good news; in fact, the first piece of non-lousy economic news in months. Nice to know the New York Times is there to set us straight about that.