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U.S. economy eases pace in first quarter, robust growth needed

(Xinhua)

08:20, April 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. economic expansion eased to 2.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, fresh evidence of the struggling economic recovery, while experts held that additional growth was needed to sustain the job growth and growth momentum.

The department's advance estimate of gross domestic product is a deceleration from the 3 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday. The growth rate was largely in line with market expectations.

The moderating pace of economic growth mainly reflected the slower pace of business investment and restocking shelves in the first three months of this year. However, stronger export demand and less spending cuts by the federal government bucked the trend.

The latest advance estimate indicates that the U.S. economy posted its 11th straight quarter of positive growth, and auto production and residential construction registered strong gains, encouraging signs that the private sector is continuing to heal from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on Friday.

Real nonresidential fixed investment decreased 2.1 percent in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of 5.2 percent in the previous quarter, the department said.

The change in real private inventories added 0.59 percentage point to the first-quarter change in real GDP after adding 1.81 percentage points to the fourth-quarter GDP change, it said.

Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 5.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter. Real exports of goods and services increased 5.4 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

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