Government lowers Q1 growth estimate

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By The Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government lowered its estimate of how much the economy grew in the first quarter of the year, noting that consumers spent less than it previously thought.

Gross domestic product rose by an annual rate of 2.7 percent in the January-to-March period, the Commerce Department said Friday. That was less than the 3 percent estimate for the quarter that the government released last month. It was also much slower than the 5.6 percent pace in the previous quarter.

The economy has now grown for three consecutive quarters after shrinking for four straight during the recession — the longest contraction since World War II.

In normal times, 2.7 percent growth would be considered healthy. But it's relatively weak for a recovery after a steep recession. After the last sharp downturn in the early 1980s, GDP grew at rates of 7 percent to 9 percent for five straight quarters.