WASHINGTON (AP) - Economists say the slower-than-expected growth rate in the economy in the final quarter of last year can be linked in part to the bad weather in much of the country.
They say the weather cut into consumer spending -- on vehicles and other items.
Economist Jennifer Lee of BMO Capital Markets says she expects the continued bad weather to limit growth in the current quarter to an annual rate of around 1.7 percent, but she's looking for a solid rebound for the rest of the year. She says there will be "pent-up demand" that will show up in the second quarter of the year.
The economy's growth rate of 2.4 percent in the last three months of 2013 was sharply lower than had been thought.
But economists are finding encouragement in one aspect of the report. The government's estimate of business investment was revised upward to an annual rate of 7.3 percent. That's the best quarterly showing in a year.
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