Slow Start: Poor first quarter for US economy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Slow Start: Poor first quarter for US economy

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy turned in the weakest performance in three years in the January-March quarter as consumers sharply slowed their spending. The result repeats a pattern that has characterized the recovery: lackluster beginnings to the year.

The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, grew by just 0.7 percent in the first quarter following a gain of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

The slowdown primarily reflected slower consumer spending, which grew by just 0.3 percent. That was the poorest showing in more than seven years. Analysts blame in part the unusually warm winter, which meant less spending on utility bills.

Economists believe the slowdown will be temporary. They forecast GDP growth will rebound to 3 percent or better in the current quarter.

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