There's something strange about the U.S. economy in the first three months of every year: It frequently grows at a much slower pace than in the other nine months.

The government agency charged with calculating the economy's growth rate now says it will adjust its methods in an effort to resolve the problem.

At issue is how economists compensate for certain seasonal patterns. The changes could paint a much different picture of the economy's recent performance.

Concerns flared when the government said late last month that the economy expanded just 0.2 percent at an annual rate in the first three months of the year. But many economists have challenged the government's data, and some have argued the first quarter figure should be as high as 1.8 percent instead.