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After near-stall in late 2012, U.S. economy picks up

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<p>WASHINGTON &mdash; After nearly stalling in late 2012, the American economy quickened its pace early this year despite deep government cutbacks. The strongest consumer spending in two years fueled a 2.5 percent annual growth rate in the January-March quarter.</p>

<p>The question is: Can it last?</p>

<p>Federal spending cuts, higher Social Security taxes and cautious businesses are likely to weigh on the economy in coming months.</p>

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