First-quarter economic growth slowest in three years

First-quarter economic growth slowest in three years
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The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 0.7 percent rate in the first three months of the year, the weakest performance in three years.

A slowdown in consumer spending weighed on the economic expansion in the January-March quarter after growth hit 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the Commerce Department said Friday.

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Spending fell to only 0.3 percent after a solid 3.5 percent increase in the October-December period, the lowest level in more than seven years. 

Warmer winter weather lowered consumers' utility bills through the early part of the year, cutting into overall spending.

Although economists expect growth to pick up pace this year, the slow start to the year isn't rosy news for President Trump as he ends his first 100 days in office.

On the campaign trail, Trump criticized former President Obama for lackluster economic growth after the economy dug out of an historically bad recession and near economic collapse. 

Trump has said his plans for better trade deals, tax and healthcare reform as well as a reduction in regulations could push economic growth up into the 4 percent range. 

Despite the lackluster growth, most experts believe the economy is picking up speed and will produce about 3 percent growth in the April-June quarter.  

Jobs growth has remained solid, even though in March employers added only 98,000 to their payrolls, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent.