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US Economy Shrinks  5.7 Percent

The U.S. economy shrank at a 5.7 percent annual pace in the first three months of this year.

Friday's report from the Commerce Department said the decline was a bit less (0.4 percent) than estimated earlier, and better than the prior quarter.

Many government economic experts and private economists say the worst of the recession may have passed, and they predict slow economic growth will resume later this year.

Other economic reports Friday showed U.S. business activity declining faster in a key region, while consumers grew less pessimistic.

Consumer sentiment hit its highest level since September, but remained at a relatively low level. Economists track consumer confidence for clues about the consumer demand that drives most U.S. economic activity.

A separate report from an industry group said the pace of business activity in the U.S. Midwest fell even faster in May than in the previous month.

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