The growth of the U.S. economy cooled in the first quarter of 2018, with gross domestic product [GDP] rising by 2.3 percent, down from 2.9 percent in the final quarter of 2017. The slowdown is being chalked up to a sharp decline in consumer spending, although business investment remained robust and a rise in exports helped to offset the effect of Americans’ apparent reluctance to spend. A $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress in December last year was an important part of President Donald Trump’s plan to boost economic growth to more than 3 percent, but Friday’s figures—the first since the tax cut—suggest it didn’t have an immediate impact. First-quarter growth tends to be weaker than other quarters as seasonal quirks in the data can disappear in later months.
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