Scott Horsley

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Updated at 8:42 a.m. ET

The Commerce Department says the U.S. economy picked up steam in the first three months of the year, after a rocky finish to 2018.

Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the first quarter, up from 2.2% at the end of last year. That's a significant turnaround from six weeks ago, when many analysts expected a slump in GDP growth to just 2% or less.

A pickup in consumer spending contributed to the improved outlook. Retailers enjoyed strong sales gains in March after a lackluster February.

The grounding of Boeing's troubled 737 Max aircraft could pinch U.S. economic growth, some analysts say, but the government reported Thursday that aircraft orders were strong enough last month to lift a key indicator.

Orders for durable goods jumped 2.7% in March, fueled in part by strong demand for commercial aircraft. The Commerce Department reported that orders for civilian aircraft soared 31%.

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Here's a little encouragement for last-minute tax filers: Your chance of being audited by the IRS this year is as low as it has been in decades.

Years of budget cuts have hollowed out enforcement of the nation's tax laws. Now, even the Trump administration says those cuts may have gone too far.

Adjusted for inflation, IRS funding has been cut by about 25 percent since the beginning of the decade. And staffing for tax enforcement has fallen by nearly a third.

Updated at 12:41 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is preparing to slap tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of imports from Europe, in retaliation for what it calls unfair subsidies of Airbus jets. The proposed tariffs would cover not only aircraft but also wine, cheese, woolen suits and other signature European products.

Who says a dollar doesn't go as far as it used to?

When it comes to dollar bills, a new report from the federal government says they're lasting more than twice as long as they were at the beginning of the decade.

And that's upending an old argument about replacing the dollar bill with a $1 coin.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. labor market bounced back strongly in March after a lackluster showing in February.

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's a big improvement from February, when revised figures show just 33,000 jobs were added. But it's a slowdown from the last three months of 2018, when monthly job growth averaged 233,000.

President Trump said he wants to appoint former Godfather's Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board.

"I find Herman to be an outstanding person," Trump told reporters during an Oval Office appearance with the vice premier of China on Thursday. "I would think he would do very well there."

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