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The U.S. economy continued its recovery from the deep recession as the fi rst quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annualized pace of 3.2%. Unlike prior quarters when the growth was led by inventories and government related spending, the fi rst quarter number was led by strong growth from the U.S. consumer. Consumer spending rose the most in three years, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additionally, the Consumer Confidence Index increased to 57.9 in April, from 52.3 in March, an increase to the highest level since September 2008. However, the index still remains well below pre-recession levels, and many economists remain cautious about the stability of the U.S. consumer with unemployment at 9.9%. Over the past two years, the U.S. economy has lost 8.5 million jobs.
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