US first quarter growth cut to 1.8%
Washington: The US economy grew only 1.8 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said today, in a sharp downward revision from the previous estimate of 2.4 percent.
It said personal spending was lower than previously estimated, and that both exports and imports actually declined in the January-March period.
The third and final estimate for the quarter suggested that the payroll tax increases that kicked in in January, and fears about government spending cuts introduced in March, encouraged US households and businesses to hold back.
Consumer spending grew only 2.6 percent in the quarter, compared to the previous estimate of 3.4 percent.
Exports shrank 1.1 percent in the quarter, and imports -- which act to lower growth in GDP calculations -- contracted 0.4 percent.
The numbers reflected the lethargy of the economy at the end of 2012, when the pace of growth was only 0.4 percent.