US economy shrank 0.2 pct. in 1st quarter; rebound expected in spring

Energy Associated Press

The U.S. economy contracted in the first three months of the year, just not as much as previously estimated. More recent data show that the weakness was largely temporary, with a rebound in the works for the April-June quarter.

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The Commerce Department says the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, shrank at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.2 percent from January through March. That's better than last month's estimate of a 0.7 percent decrease.

Harsh winter weather slowed spending by keeping consumers away from shopping malls and auto dealerships. The trade deficit ballooned, slicing growth by the most since 1985 as exports fell and imports rose.

Yet consumers stepped up their spending in May, and home sales climbed — signs that the economy is back on track.