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US Economy Grew by 2.5% in First Quarter

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the first three months of 2013, according to the Commerce Department, boosted by consumer spending and offset by decreases in government spending.

The agency released its first estimate of U.S. economic growth for the first quarter on Friday, but is expected to revise the figure two times.

The figure was lower than the 3.2 percent annual rate many economists had expected, though it was up significantly from the growth of the last quarter of 2012.

Last month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis within the Commerce Department reported that real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced in the country -- grew at an annual rate of just 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

The department previously reported that real GDP grew 3.1 percent in the third quarter.

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