US economic rebound gains momentum in first quarter

Growth hits 6.4% as stimulus, vaccinations and easing of lockdowns boost recovery

The US president Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday, the eve of his 100th day in office, about his plan to revive the US economy as it continues to recover from the pandemic. Photograph. EPA/Chip Somodevilla / Pool

The US president Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday, the eve of his 100th day in office, about his plan to revive the US economy as it continues to recover from the pandemic. Photograph. EPA/Chip Somodevilla / Pool

 

US economic growth received a boost in the first three months of 2021 from massive fiscal stimulus that fuelled consumer spending, as well as looser lockdown restrictions, bringing output close to pre-pandemic levels.

Gross domestic product advanced 6.4 per cent on an annualised basis in the first quarter, the commerce department said on Thursday. That topped economists’ expectations for 6.1 per cent growth, according to a Refinitiv survey, and marked the quickest first-quarter growth since 1984.

Economic output advanced 1.6 per cent compared with the previous quarter, based on the measure used by other big economies. Real GDP was just 1 per cent shy of its pre-pandemic level.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday night on the eve of his 100th day in office, the US president Joe Biden hailed the country’s revival from the struggles of the pandemic, declaring America was “ready for take-off”.

“We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. Leading the world again. We have shown each other and the world: there is no quit in America,” he said. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021