U.S. first-quarter growth weakest in three years as consumer spending falters

The U.S. economy grew at its weakest pace in three years in the first quarter as consumer spending barely increased and businesses invested less on inventories, in a potential setback to President Donald Trump's promise to boost growth.

Gross domestic product increased at a 0.7% annual rate also as the government cut back on defense spending, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was the weakest performance since the first quarter of 2014.

The economy grew at a 2.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast GDP rising at a 1.2% pace last quarter. The survey was, however, conducted before Thursday's advance data on the March goods trade deficit and inventories, which saw many economists lowering their first-quarter growth estimates.

 

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