The economy grew at a 3.2 percent clip in the first quarter,braking somewhat from its 5.6 percent pace in previous quarter, but indicatingcontinued consumer spending.

It was the third consecutive quarter of positive growthin GDP.

Consumer spending, which on average accounts for 70percent of all domestic economic activity, added 2.55 percentage points to GDPlast quarter, the biggest percentage input since the fourth quarter of 2006.

Meanwhile, inventories rose $31.1 billion in the firstquarter - the first increase in that metric since the first quarter of 2008. Bycontrast, business inventories fell $19.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009.

During the quarter federal government spending increasedsome 1.4 percent, but state and local government spending was cut by 3.8percent.

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