As discussed in the 2019 Economic Report of the President, the Council of Economic Advisers demonstrated that the strong economic performance in 2017 and 2018 was not merely a continuation of trends already under way during the preceding post-recession expansion, but rather constituted a distinct break from trend and positive surprise relative to expectations. We see in today’s advance estimate of real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2019 that the economy continues to outperform expectations.

As shown in the figure below, in their final longer-term forecasts before the November 2016 election, the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Open Market Committee on average projected four-quarter real GDP growth in 2017, 2018, and 2019 of 2.2, 2.0, and 1.7 percent, respectively. In actuality, real GDP grew 2.5 percent in 2017, 3.0 percent in 2018, and in the first quarter of 2019 grew at an annualized rate of 3.2 percent.