US Economic Recovery Slows More Than Hoped
Doubts have surfaced over the strength of the US economic recovery after GDP grew more slowly than forecast in the first three months of the year.
It was announced that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.2% between January and March, just days after confirmation of the UK's slide into recession in the same period.
The performances of both the UK and American economies can be revised - for better or worse - in future.
US economists had expected a growth figure of 2.5% following a rate of 3% in the final quarter of 2011.
Stronger consumer spending was offset by cutbacks in government spending and business investment, according to the US Commerce Department.
It said consumers spent at the fastest pace in more than a year - cheered by improved bank lending and greater job security.
The economy is by far the biggest issue in this year's presidential election campaign.
The White House said it was "encouraged" by the growth figure but admitted that more growth was needed if the US economy was to recover the jobs that were lost during the last recession.
However, the growth slowdown is seen as further ammunition for Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who has repeatedly sought to hammer President Barack Obama's record at handling the slow recovery.
In 2011, the US economy grew by just 1.7% percent.
However, economists still expect growth to rebound to around 3% for all of 2012, as the jobs market recovery gathers further pace and consumers continue to spend more after off-loading debt.