The U.S. economy grew a bit faster than first estimated in the first three months of this year, but still expanded at a slow pace.

Thursday's report from the Commerce Department puts the first quarter's economic growth at nine-tenths of one percent.

That is three-tenths of a percent better than economists first thought, and a bit better than the growth rate for the last quarter of 2007.

The world's largest economy has been hurt by sagging housing market, tight credit, and soaring energy costs.

A separate government report from the Labor Department said the number of Americans signing up for unemployment assistance rose slightly last week - by 4,000, to a total of 372,000.

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