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GDP Grew Just 0.7 Percent In First Quarter Of 2017

The U.S. economy grew by just 0.7 percent in the first quarter of this year. Weak auto sales were one factor dragging down consumer spending. (Above) Chevrolet pickup trucks at a dealership in Delmont, Pa., in February.

The U.S. economy grew at just a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest report on the gross domestic product from the Commerce Department. That's below market expectations and indicates the economy grew at the slowest pace in three years.

Weak auto sales and lower home-heating bills dragged down consumer spending, offsetting a pickup in investment led by housing and oil drilling. Employment costs rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter.

This "advance" estimate showed the U.S. economy with its slowest growth since the first quarter of 2014. The GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2016 was 2.1 percent.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures the prices paid for goods and services purchased by consumers, increased 2.6 percent in the first quarter. That's compared with an increase of 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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