Economy Expands at 3.2% Clip as Spending Rebounds Consumer spending drives growth for third straight month By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Apr 30, 2010 8:20 AM CDT 9 comments Comments A shopper casts an eye on flat-screen TVs. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Newser) – The economy grew at a solid 3.2% pace during the first quarter of this year as consumers boosted their spending by the most in three years. It marked the third straight quarterly gain, providing more hope that a recovery is in progress. Still, growth came in a tad shy of the 3.4% forecast and was weaker than the fourth quarter of last year (5.6%). Consumers powered the first quarter's growth: They increased their spending at a 3.6% pace, the strongest showing since early 2007—before the economy tipped into a recession. Looking ahead, however, analysts believe consumers will be wary of stepping up spending much further, given that the unemployment rate is hovering around 10%.