A slight pick-up in consumer spending and an inventory build-up resulting from strong production fuelled the advance. Investment in fixed capital slowed and exports eased.
In March, economic output was up 0.3%, after increasing 0.4% in February and 0.1% in January. Service-producing industries surged ahead in March while the output of goods-producing industries fell.
While final domestic demand continued to provide substantial support to the economy (+0.8%), it was overtaken by growth in GDP for the first time in 10 quarters. An easing in domestic spending activity resulted from reduced investment in non-residential structures and equipment. This was partly offset by an acceleration in housing investment and by increased consumer spending, in particular on clothing, household furnishings and leisure items.