US economy grew at strong 3.2% rate in first quarter

In this Dec. 31, 2018, photo a Washington state ferry sails on a foggy day near cranes at the Port of Seattle. On Friday, April 26, 2019, the Commerce Department issues the first estimate of how the U.S. economy performed in the January-March quarter. (Ted S. Warren | The Associated Press)

MARTIN CRUTSINGER | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.2% annual rate in the first three months of the year, a far better outcome than expected, overcoming a host of headwinds including global weakness, rising trade tensions and a partial government shutdown.

The advance in the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, marks an acceleration from a 2.2% gain in the previous October-December period.

However, about half the gain reflected two factors not expected to last — a big jump stockpiling by businesses and a sharp contraction in the trade deficit.

Still, the GDP gain surpassed the 3% bar set by President Donald Trump as evidence his economic program is working. Trump is counting on a strong economy as he campaigns for re-election.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.