Flat growth Q4/Q4 is bad news and...
The IMF is looking for US growth to be essentially flat on a Q4 to Q4 basis in 2008.
In terms of the arithmetic, with 0.9% growth in hand (annual rate) in Q1 the IMF looks for declines in US GDP through the rest of the year in order to hit ZERO Q4/Q4.
Arguably... GDP could be flat through the rest of the year and that would leave a Q4/Q4 result of +0.2% - close enough to 'flat' to be taken as an apt description of growth by the IMF.
But anyway you slice it this is essentially a recession forecast from the IMF. ZERO growth for three quarters is pretty bad -arguably that is a recession anyway- even though GDP does not decline.
If Q2 GDP grows by 2% (saar) on the back of rebate checks then the Q3 and Q4 declines will have to be even bigger to hit a zero Q4/Q4 forecast.
Take no solace from the IMF's numbers. They are not good news.
And the rest of the IMF's discussion of the US situation makes bleak reading on its own.