US growth slows to 2.2 percent in first quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the first three months of this year. Stronger consumer spending was offset by cutbacks in government spending and by businesses restocking their shelves at a slower pace. The Commerce Department says the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the January-March quarter, compared with a 3 percent gain in the final quarter of 2011. Consumers spent at the fastest pace in more than a year. In 2011, the economy grew just 1.7 percent. But growth is expected to rebound to around 3 percent for all of 2012 as stronger job growth spurs increased consumer spending.

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