Commerce Secretary on GDP Contraction: ‘Actually, I Think Things Are Pretty Good’

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said Friday that she thinks "things are pretty good" in the economy, despite reports that the economy shrunk in the first quarter of 2015.

The Department of Commerce reported an economic contraction of 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year.

Pritzker blamed cold weather, closed ports, and shy consumers for the economy’s poor performance.

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"The first quarter [contraction] is something that’s not unexpected given the severity of the winter, given the fact that the west coast ports slowed down which affected inventories, and given the fact that consumers are still not spending the savings they got from the fact that gas prices are lower," Pritzker said. "So I think things are trending pretty good."

Experts outside the administration are less sanguine.

AEI economist James Pethokoukis writes that,while there are several important caveats to the new growth figure, sub-two percent growth is "not nearly good enough." He quotes JP Morgan, which wrote that "soft" growth was a result of both unusual circumstances and "more fundamental drags" on the economy.