The US economy “all but stagnated” in the first three months of the year, growing at an annual rate of just 0.2%, official figures show.
The growth figure was far lower than expectations. Analysts had forecast growth would be about 1%.
Harsh winter weather for a second year dampened consumer spending, while energy companies struggling with low oil prices cut investment.
The strength of the dollar also hurt exports, which fell by 7.2%.
A strike by dock workers at normally busy West Coast ports also hindered growth.
But the US Commerce Department said there were signs that activity was picking up in the second quarter.
The US growth figure much lower than the previous three months, when the economy expanded at an annualised pace of 2.2%.