Blame the weather on lower sales and housing starts?

Tourists huddle under umbrellas as they walk past the White House on March 25, 2013, when a late snowstorm hit the East Coast. 

 

 

The biggest employer in America reports that sales are down, and there were some other less-than thrilling numbers out today.

The reason? The weather, reports Dianne Swonk of Mesirow Financial.

"A lot of retailers had to do a lot of heavy discounting in response to the weather, particularly in March," she said.

Temperatures were down across much of the United States, causing consumers to huddle at home instead of going out.

"No one was really out there buying Easter bonnets," Swonk said.

April proved to be somewhat better, but not by much.

In housing numbers there was also a downward turn, almost entirely in the South, Swonk said. Weather, again, might be to blame. 

All in all? The rose colored glasses of the first quarter may have come off.

"The US economy has moderated after a strong start to the year," she said.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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