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US consumer spending grew slowly in March

Pedestrians carry shopping bags as they walk along San Francisco's Market Street on April 26, 2013
Pedestrians carry shopping bags as they walk along San Francisco's Market Street on April 26, 2013. US consumer spending grew slightly in March, the Commerce Department reported, in a fresh sign that higher payroll taxes and government spending cuts could

US consumer spending grew slightly in March, the Commerce Department reported Monday, in a fresh sign that higher payroll taxes and government spending cuts could be slowing economic growth.

Consumer spending grew by 0.2 percent, or $21.0 billion, from February, down from the 0.7 expansion in the January-February period.

Personal income grew by the same amount, 0.2 percent, or $30.9 billion, compared to 1.1 percent the previous month.

The personal saving rate remained flat: Americans were saving a net 2.7 percent of their disposable income.

On Friday the Commerce Department estimated overall economic growth in the first quarter of 2013 at 2.5 percent, lower than economists expected in part because of a sag in spending an investment and spending in March.

Economists blamed the impact of the government's "sequester" spending cuts which came into effect at the beginning of March.

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