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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Real gross domestic product growth in the first quarter came out better than expected, but slowed from the fourth quarter.

Real GDP growth during the period increased at an annual rate of 1.8%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but slowed from fourth quarter real GDP growth of 3.1%.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the increase in real GDP in the first quarter mainly reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports and nonresidential fixed investment. But they were offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and state and local government spending.

Economists, on average, expected GDP growth of 1.7% in the first quarter, according to

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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