The US Real gross domestic product (GDP) continued to just inch along, increasing 1.1% in the first quarter of 2016, according to the most recent estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (June 28, 2016).
Whilst in the fourth quarter of 2015, real GDP increased 1.4%.
The first‐quarter increase in real GDP mainly reflected an increase in consumer spending on services, notably on healthcare and on housing and utilities. Consumer spending on nondurable goods also increased, but is of little consequence to the industrial gas (IG) industry.
Consumer spending on durable goods declined, notably on motor vehicles and parts, signaling more challenges for IG in those sectors.
Housing investment, state and local government expenditures, and exports each increased. These positive contributions to GDP growth were partially offset by declines in other sectors, all of which are IG markets: business investment in equipment and in structures decreased; farm and nonfarm private inventory investment declined; and, federal government spending declined, notably on national defense spending.