Growth in U.S. personal consumption expenditures in the first quarter of 2017 was slowest since 2009, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.
A big reason for that was the second-largest contraction in spending by non-profits (i.e. election-related lobbying/spending) in 57 years of data.
As Bloomberg details, according to monthly consumption data through February, the drag seems to owe to a sharp decline in spending by professional advocacy groups, which always surges during U.S. presidential elections, and hit a record high in November.
And what that means for GDP is clear - the post-Clinton-Loss collapse in spending by 'professional advocacy' groups has erased 0.3 percentage points from GDP growth in Q1 (after boosting it by 0.25 points in Q3)
Two things spring to mind:
1) How fragile is the US economy that election-related spending can have such a huge impact on relative growth? And/or the flipside of that...
2) How massive is election-related spending that it now makes a significant cyclical impact to the nation's GDP growth?
Finally, we could not help but note the last time election-related spending collapsed at such a pace (as Q1 2017's post-Clinton-loss) was in Q1 1997 (when Bill Clinton won his second term). What is with the Clintons? Bottomless pockets?