Massachusetts economists say the state significantly outperformed the nation as a whole in the first quarter.

The MassBenchmarks Current Economic Index, released Thursday, finds that the state's gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent during the first three months of 2016.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported earlier Thursday that the nation's GDP inched forward by only 0.5 percent in the first quarter.

Massachusetts posted a modest 1.4 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2015, the same as the U.S. rate in the final three months last year.

Economists say the state's economy has picked up after slowing in the second half of 2015.

MassBenchmarks is published by the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.