U.S. 1st qtr GDP growth revised down to 1.8%

The U.S. economy grew an annualized real 1.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, revised down from an earlier estimated 2.4 percent expansion, due mainly to weaker consumer spending and slowing capital investment, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Slumping exports also contributed to the downward revision to the growth, which was weaker than economists had expected.

In the January-March period, consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy, expanded 2.6 percent, down from an increase of 3.4 percent in an estimate released last month and a rise of 1.8 percent in the October-December period, the department said.

Private investment spending on nonresidential items such as plant, equipment and software increased 0.4 percent, compared with an earlier estimated rise of 2.2 percent, on slower growth in spending on equipment and software. The figure gained 13.2 percent in the previous quarter.

Exports declined 1.1 percent, compared with an earlier estimated 0.8 percent increase and a 2.8 percent drop in the previous quarter, the department said.

Imports fell 0.4 percent, compared with an earlier estimate of 1.9 percent growth and a decline of 4.2 percent in the preceding quarter.

GDP measures the total output of goods and services within a country's borders. The department is scheduled to release GDP data for the second quarter of 2013 on July 31.