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U.S. economy grew faster than expected in first quarter

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the first three months of 2018, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The results were slightly above Wall Street analysts’ forecasts of 2 percent annual growth rate and represented an expected slowing from the fourth quarter’s 2.9 percent growth rate.

The Commerce Department report was the first since President Trump’s tax cut took effect on January 1. The centerpiece of the tax overhaul was a reduction in corporate taxes aimed at boosting investment and jobs.

Amid signs of labor market buoyancy, the Fed also raised its forecast, predicting the economy would grow this year at an annual rate of 2.7 percent, up from 2.5 percent in December. Employers around the country are reporting difficulty finding skilled workers with the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent and headed lower. First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 209,000 in the week through April 21, the lowest level since 1969.

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