The hibernating U.S. consumer showed signs of shaking off its winter slumber and stirring to life last week. In the first quarter of the year, personal consumption was estimated to have grown at a somnolent annualized rate of just 0.3 percent. By comparison, over the past three years personal consumption has averaged 2.9 percent. It was the weakest quarterly pace of consumption in eight years, and followed an average rate of 3.25 percent in the second half of last year. Admittedly, the accuracy of first quarter economic reports has been challenged for several years. But even faulty seasonal adjustments likely don’t fully explain just how weak the quarter was, especially for an economy dependent upon the consumer spending for 70 percent of its total activity.