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U.S. Economy Grew More Than Expected in the First Quarter

AP Rich Pedroncelli
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the first quarter, according to a government report released Friday morning.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.3 percent annualized pace, compared to the consensus forecast of economists of 2.0 percent. That was the best start of the year since 2015.

Despite higher readings from surveys measuring consumer sentiment, consumer spending grew just 1.1 percent, the lowest rise since 2013.

The figures come from the Commerce Department’s “advance” estimate of GDP, meaning it is based on some incomplete data and will be revised over the next few months.

The economy slowed in the first quarter compared with the end of the prior year, when the economy grew at a 2.9 percent pace. The deceleration reflects a slower home construction, a contraction in personal consumption spending, lower exports, and lower state and local government spending, according to the Commerce Department. These were partially offset by a rise in the investment in business inventories.

GDP is a measure of economic activity based on the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. Exports add to GDP while imports subtract from GDP.

Official readings of GDP in the first quarter of the year tend to come in low. Some economists believe that seasonal adjustments may be making the reading an inaccurate picture of economic activity.

 

 

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