Higher imports, lower nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in federal government spending contributed to the weak growth.
Increased investor confidence in the stability of the yuan is expected to reduce outflows after a torrid 2015, a report says.
Bankers say the European Central Bank's stimulus is leading to more loans but is also cutting into profitability.
Privately-owned housing starts rose 14% over 2015, but were nearly 9% below February's revised numbers, said the Commerce Department.
Inflation pressures remained modest, despite a 2.2%, 12-month increase in core prices.
Wage growth and signs that the oil industry may be emerging from its decline were two of the bright spots in the Fed's latest “Beige Book.”
The IMF's projection for economic growth this year is now only one-tenth of a percentage point above 2015's growth rate.
The metals maker may cut as many as 2,000 positions to improve its cost structure.
Labor Department data show a jobs market that appears unwavering in its strength.
Economists see trade subtracting at least seven-tenths of a percentage point from GDP growth in the first quarter.