Economy Grows By Only 0.6 Percent In First Quarter

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Washington (AP) The bruised economy limped through the first quarter of this year at a six-tenths of a percentage point growth rate as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.

The country's economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the commerce department reports but not the kind of statistic that economists define as a recession.

Although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to keep growing - however slightly.

Meanwhile, employers' costs to hire and retain workers grew at a slower pace in the first three months of this year.

The Labor Department reports that compensation costs, wages, salaries and benefits rose 0.7 percent in the January-To-March quarter, the slowest pace in two years. Many economists were expecting a slightly higher, 0.8 percent rise. The report suggests
That the weak labor market is making employers a bit less generous with their compensation.