U.S. economic growth almost stalled in the first quarter


U.S. economic growth slowed sharply at the start of the year, according to the latest reading of U.S. gross domestic product.

The broad measure of goods and services produced by the economy grew at a 0.2% annual rate in the first three months of the year.

Economists had expected the economy to grow at an already modest 1% pace in the first quarter of 2015. The U.S. economy grew at a more healthy 2.2% pace in the fourth quarter 2014, and by 5% in the prior quarter.

Wednesday’s reading was a big step down from the fourth quarter’s 2.2% pace and marked the weakest reading in a year.

A strong dollar and a now-resolved labor dispute at normally busy West Coast ports also slammed growth, the government said.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the economy expanding at a 1% rate. While the weak GDP figures could rattle financial markets…

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