POSTED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 8:30am
UPDATED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 8:34am
NBC News — Japan's economy is gradually recovering from the earthquake and tsunami last year. The disaster disrupted supply chains and manufacturing and kept many people in mourning from spending. The economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1% in the first three months of the year. Preliminary data for gross domestic product showed a rebound in consumer spending lifted the economy. Private consumption, which is more than half the Japanese economy, grew at an annual rate of 4.4%.
Government subsidies boosted sales of hybrid cars and fuel-efficient models, which also helped lift consumer spending. Public investment also grew at a robust 23.6%, a reflection of reconstruction spending in northeast Japan. Japan's economy for the quarter ending in March grew 1% on the previous three months. That was better than analyst projections and translated into a 4.1% expansion in annual terms.