WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy took a beating from an especially harsh winter during the January-March quarter, skidding into reverse for the first time in three years. But spring has arrived and along with it, signs that the chill was just a temporary setback in the long road to recovery.

Gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was worse than the government's initial estimate that GDP grew by a slight 0.1 percent. The economy last posted a decline in the first three months of 2011 when it dropped 1.3 percent.

Since then, the labor market has continued to improve, consumer spending is solid and manufacturers are benefiting from increased spending. Economists expect a robust GDP rebound in the April-June quarter as a result
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