The slowdown marked a significant step back from the previous two quarters, which averaged roughly 3% growth. On the year, GDP growth climbed 2.4%--the same as 2014.
A turndown in consumer spending, crippled exports and a buildup in business inventories fueled the deceleration, according to the Commerce Department.
On a positive note, home construction outlays rose 8.1% and the stronger job market put more people in a position to afford down payments for homes, which may have helped spark the increase seen in home sales (MarketWatch Jan. 29).
Looking ahead, the question becomes whether the job market can sustain its strong pace of growth, and whether the economy can rebound at a moderate clip, as the Federal Reserve suggested it would in its policy statement last week.
For the Fed to be right, the economy will have to overcome the fact that recent first quarter performances have underwhelmed, largely thanks to severe winter weather.
Winter Storm Jonas may have helped to reiterate that trend.