U.S. economic growth likely braked sharply in the first quarter as harsh weather dampened consumer spending and energy companies struggling with low prices cut spending, but there are signs activity is picking up.
Gross domestic product probably expanded at a 1.0 percent annual rate, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would be a step down from the fourth quarter's 2.2 percent pace and mark the weakest reading in a year.
A strong dollar and a now-resolved labor dispute at normally busy West Coast ports also likely constrained growth. With both the weather and the ports dispute out of the way, economists warn against reading too much into the expected growth slowdown.
"The first quarter is not a true reflection of the health of the U.S. economy right now, it's not the beginning of a downturn," said Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.