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Old Man Winter slapped the economy, which contracted for the first time in three years in the first quarter, government data showed on Thursday.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product contracted by 1.0 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2014, a downward revision from the government's previous estimate of a 0.1 percent growth rate.

Economists had expected first-quarter GDP to show a contraction of 0.4 percent.

The first-quarter's performance was the weakest since the first quarter of 2011, but the economy has been showing signs of emerging from the winter doldrums. Economists are expecting the economy to accelerate in the spring quarter, based on improvements in the job market, housing and manufacturing.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.