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U.S. first-quarter GDP growth trimmed in final estimate

June 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Commerce Department trimmed its first-quarter gross domestic product estimate sharply down to 1.8 percent in its final revision released Wednesday.

With weaker business investment and personal spending than previously considered, the department, in the third of its three estimates, cut its economic growth estimate for January through March from the previous figure of 2.4 percent.

Economists had expected the earlier estimate to hold up. But the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 2.6 percent in the quarter. That was an improvement over the fourth quarter, when spending rose 1.8 percent, but it was a downgrade from the first-quarter estimate of 3.4 percent released a month ago.

Investment in non-residential structures was also revised, showing a spending decline of 8.3 percent. Previously, that spending on business structures was estimated at a decline of 3.5 percent.

Exports, previously listed as a 0.8 percent increase, were revised to indicated a decline of 1.1 percent. Imports were also revised lower, but imports count as a negative in the GDP figure, so fewer imports is an improvement.

The Commerce Department said investments in residential structures rose 14 percent, a slowdown from fourth-quarter growth of 17.6 percent but an improvement over the estimate in the previous GDP report that pegged spending on new homes up by 12.1 percent.

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