The new US GDP data was widely seen as 'disappointing'. But the most important trend is not the short term figure of 2.2% annualised growth for 1st quarter of 2012 but the confirmation of the long term deceleration of the US economy. The charts below show that the moving average for US 20 year GDP growth has fallen to 2.6% and the moving average for 10 year US GDP growth has fallen to 1.6%. In both cases the declining long term trend for growth is clear from the charts.
It is because there is a persistent long term slowing of the US economy that the US growth data is consistently seen as 'disappointing'. In fact the problem is a wrong perception. Analysts are surprised by new data only when they have not internalised or built into their models this long term deceleration of the US economy. A more fundamental and longer term analysis of this long term slowing of the US economy can be found here.
PS for those interested more detailed analyses of the new US GDP figures will be found on my Sina Weibo - the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Having used both Weibo is a better product than Twitter for economists as it has built in facilities for showing charts. Posts are in both English and Chinese. My Weibo is here.
Figure 1 – 10 year moving average of US annual GDP growth
Figure 2 – 20 year moving average of US annual GDP growth