The US releases three estimates of each quarter's GDP. The first is a preliminary estimate; the second and third fine tune it. The latest estimate of the US growth rate in the first quarter was the largest quarterly revision from the second estimate since 1976! It now seems the US economy didn't contract 1.0% in the first quarter. It fell 2.9%. Although the number refers to what happened three months ago and signs of recovery are abundant, a contraction that large still has shock value.
What changed? Personal consumption was much weaker than had been thought: instead of a 3.1% growth rate, personal consumption grew just 1.0%. The fall in exports was larger than in earlier estimates as was the rise in imports, meaning that net exports subtracted more from GDP than we'd thought. The drag from inventories was also larger than estimated earlier. What little good news there was came from the fact that the contractions in business investment and residential investment were smaller than we'd thought.