NUMBER CRUNCHING

U.S. Economy Speeds Up a Bit

The U.S. economy grew by just 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, a rate that is lower than expected and could cause more fears that a recession is on the horizon as the country faces deep economic cuts and higher taxes. The numbers, released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department, missed the forecast of 3 percent, indicating that the economy has weakened in recent weeks especially. The Federal Reserve, which meets next week, could use the news to keep buying bonds at its current rate of $85 billion a month. But there was some good news: the GDP grew in almost all areas of the economy, and consumer spending—which accounts for two thirds percent of all U.S. economic activity—grew 3.2 percent.