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GDP continues to grow, spurred by consumer spending

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The Commerce Department released on April 30 the first indication of the state of the U.S. economy in the first quarter of 2010, and the news was good: real GDP increased at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the period from the fourth quarter of 2009, when real GDP rose 5.6 percent.

Commerce said the first quarter growth came from personal spending (or personal consumption expenditures, PCE in government-speak), which rose 3.6 percent in 2010′s first quarter, compared to growth of only 1.6 percent in 2009′s final period. The biggest driver of PCE was purchases of durable goods, which increased 11.3 percent in the quarter.

Other drivers of growth in the first quarter came from private inventory investment and exports, which rose 5.8 percent, though imports also increased in the quarter, by 8.9 percent. Exports in the fourth quarter had increased 22.8 percent, while imports had risen 15.8 percent.

View the complete Commerce Department GDP report here.