U.S. economy grows 2.4% in first quarter

With a 2.4% annual growth rate from January through March, the U.S. economy grew slightly slower than anticipated, but the rate was significantly better than the 0.4% growth rate seen between October and December. Federal spending cuts, higher taxes, and global economic weakness have led analysts to estimate a 2% annual growth rate for the April to June period.

On the upside, consumer spending showed a 3.4% annual growth rate in the first quarter.

A separate report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that the average U.S. household has regained less than half the wealth it lost to the Great Recession, suggesting consumer spending could remain tepid.