20060511 economy getty57565953
Traders keep an eye on prices May 9, 2006 at the New York Stock Exchange as Wall Street's blue-chip index neared its all-time record high. - 

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: This morning, U.S. Department of Commerce officials announced that the nation's Gross Domestic Product slowed to a near crawl in the first quarter. We get more from Nancy Marshall Genzer.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: In the first three months of the year, the U.S. economy had its slowest growth rate in four years. GDP grew only 1.3 percent. Economist Jack Albertine.

JACK ALBERTINE: The economy is reeling, to some extent, from the collapse of the housing sector and also from the spike in energy prices.

He says many folks believed the economy had been more successful in fighting off those negative influences. But...

JACK ALBERTINE: This is clearly a jolt. I think it means the Fed will not raise interest rates, and if perhaps the trend continues in this quarter the Fed will think about lowering rates in late summer (or) early fall.

That would make mortgages and car loans cheaper for consumers. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.