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Economic Snapshot

1st Quarter 2000

Q2-99 Q3-99 Q4-99 Q1-00
Growth Rate—Real Gross Domestic Product 1.9% 5.7% 7.3% 5.4*
Inflation Rate—Consumer Price Index 3.3% 2.5% 2.9% 4.0%
Civilian Unemployment Rate 4.3% 4.2% 4.1% 4.1%

*Advance estimate

Table from March National Economic Trends Cover, March 2000.

In what ways were the 1990s exceptional?

Low inflation is an area often thought to be exceptional in the 1990s, and relative to the experience of the 1970s and 19080s, it clearly is. Despite nearly identical average rates of economic growth in all three decades, the average inflation rate of the 1990s was about half that of the 1970s and 1980s. Certainly the performance of the stock market was exceptional in the 1990s. The inflation-adjusted total return to the S&P 500 exceeded the 1980s by 3 percentage points even though that performance is not due to the market recovering from a poor performance in the previous decade. Also exceptional during the 1990s was the stability of inflation and output growth.