WASHINGTON DC: Latest figures from the USA suggest its economy grew a little more robustly in the early months of the year than first estimated. But the numbers still point to leaner times ahead.

The Department of Commerce says GDP rose at an annual rate of 0.9% during the first quarter, better than the expected 0.6%, thanks to non-residential construction and a decline in imports.

Despite rising food and fuel costs, Q2 growth improved marginally thanks to the administration's tax rebates designed to kick-start consumer spending in this presidential election year.

Comments Bank of America economist Peter Kretzmer: "Consumer spending and business spending are off to a little bit of a better start."
He expects Q2 expansion to match the preceeding three months.

The Labor Department revealed that initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits climbed to 372,000 in the week ended May 24, rising from an upwardly revised 368,000 for the previous week.

Analysts were expecting 370,000 in new claims, up from the estimated 365,000 in the prior week.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff