The U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the first three months of the year as more Americans were vaccinated and the economic reopening gained momentum.
Gross domestic product – the broadest measure of economic performance – grew at a 6.4% annual rate during the first quarter, according to an advance estimate released Thursday by the Commerce Department, outpacing the 6.1% growth that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were anticipating.
The initial reading shows an improvement from the final quarter of last year when the economy grew at a 4.3% annualized rate.
Boosting growth in the first quarter were gains in personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending.
Those gains were partially offset by decreases in private inventory investment and exports. Imports, which are subtracted when calculating GDP, increased.
Separately, data released by the Labor Department showed 553,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the week ended April 24, below last week’s upwardly revised 566,000 filings. Analysts were expecting 549,000 first-time claims.
Continuing claims for the week ended April 17, meanwhile, climbed to 3.66 million from a downwardly revised 3.651 million. Economists had forecast 3.614 million continuing claims.