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    Report: US Economic Growth Slowest in 4 Years

    The U.S. economy grew at the slowest pace in four years in the first three months of this year.

    Thursday's report from the Commerce Department says the gross domestic product of the United States grew just six-tenths of one percent.

    That is lower than first thought, but this routine revision of the figures reflects additional data that was not available for the earlier estimate.

    The current growth rate is also much lower than the 2.5 percent rate at the end of last year.

    Economists blame the slow economic growth on the rising trade deficit and the large number of businesses that have been cutting investment in goods they hold in inventory.

    The gross domestic product measures all the goods and services produced in the country, and is the broadest measure of the economy's health.

    A separate government report from the Labor Department Thursday shows the number of Americans signing up for unemployment aid dropped by 4,000 last week, to just 310,000. Experts say that level is low enough to indicate growing strength in the job market.

    A more detailed look at the U.S. employment situation comes Friday when the government publishes the unemployment rate for the month.

    Economists interviewed by the Bloomberg financial news service predict that the jobless rate will remain at a relatively low 4.5 percent. These economists also predict that the U.S. economy created 135,000 more jobs than it it lost last month.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

     

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