Everyone seems pretty calm about Wednesday's upcoming GDP report, all things considered. The first estimate of second-quarter economic growth is expected to come in at a strong 3.1 percent annual rate, according to Bloomberg.
But it's coming off of an unusually weak first quarter. The economy contracted at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter, meaning economic growth for the first half of the year will come in flat even if Wednesday's report hits consensus expectations.
Many economists said the slow growth in the first quarter was due to temporary factors, like a harsh winter and businesses cutting back on inventories. In addition, a slide in healthcare spending was a key contributor (which could be considered great news, as Vox's Adrianna McIntyre wrote in June).
So the second quarter could easily bring a bounce back in consumer spending a harsh winter kept people away from stores. Businesses are also expected to pick up their spending on inventories again after dialing it back in the first quarter.
But if that rebound didn't happen, it could mean real problems in the US economy, not to mention net negative growth in the first half of the year.
One reason not to get too worried if tomorrow's report comes in worse than expected: it's just the first estimate. It will be revised twice more in the coming months (and hopefully for the better).