WASHINGTON -- The economy grew at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the first quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department said. While that figure is down slightly from the 5.8 percent growth rate estimated last month, the Commerce Department pointed out that this is the strongest performance since the second quarter of 2000.

Friday's report also showed the after-tax profits of corporations edged up 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the first increase since the third quarter of 2000.