(Washington, DC)  --  The new GDP numbers aren't meeting expectations.  The Commerce Department says the country's gross domestic product rose 2.5% in the first quarter after nearly stalling at zero-point-four percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.  Economists were expecting a three-percent growth in GDP.  The first-quarter result is largely due to a drop in defense spending.  Consumer spending had its biggest jump in two years. 

Consumers spent more on auto purchases and utility payments despite the return of a higher payroll tax and increased gas prices.  Analysts are worried deep government spending cuts and higher taxes could impact the slow economic recovery in the coming months.