US economy slipped 1.6% to start year; return to growth eyed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy shrank at a 1.6% annual pace in the first three months of the year even though consumers and businesses kept spending at a healthy pace, the government reported Wednesday in a slight downgrade from its previous estimate for January-March quarter.

It was the first drop in gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — since the second quarter of 2020, in the depths of the COVID-19 recession, and followed a strong 6.9% expansion in the final three months of 2021.

Still, the negative number probably doesn’t signal the start of a recession, and economists expect growth to resume later this year.

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