Tuesday, March 3rd2.5°C
25405
23829

US economy grew at 2.6 per cent rate in 4Q as consumer spending rose faster than thought

WASHINGTON - The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 per cent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly more than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years.

The fourth-quarter growth rate was a bit stronger than the 2.4 per cent estimate made last month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The revision reflected stronger consumer spending, which rose at an annual rate of 3.3 per cent — its best quarterly pace since 2010.

Even with the upward revision, growth in the overall economy slowed from a 4.1 per cent pace in the July-September quarter. Analysts think growth has slowed even more in the current January-March period to around a 2 per cent annual rate. A harsh winter has disrupted factory production and kept people away from shopping malls.

But once warmer weather appears, analysts are looking for a rebound in economic activity with consumer spending expected to be helped by pent-up demand from purchases that were deferred during the bad weather.

Many economists are forecasting that growth for the entire year will hit 3 per cent. If that forecast proves accurate, it would make growth this year the strongest since 2005, two years before the nation plunged into the worst recession since the 1930s.

Since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has struggled to gain momentum and the weak growth has made it harder for people who lost jobs during the downturn to find work.

The report Thursday on overall economic growth as measured by the gross domestic product was the government's third and final look at the fourth quarter GDP.

For all of 2013, the economy grew at a lacklustre 1.9 per cent after growth of 2.8 per cent in 2012. Growth was held back last year by higher federal taxes and government spending cuts enacted to combat soaring budget deficits. Economists estimate that the squeeze from the government subtracted about 1.5 percentage points from growth.

The upward revision in activity in the fourth quarter came in part from additional spending in such areas as health care. Spending on services increased by the most since the spring of 2005.

Business investments on structures and equipment grew at a 5.7 per cent annual rate, slower than previously estimated but still up from a 4.8 per cent increase in the third quarter.

The drag from cutbacks in government activity continued with government spending falling at a 5.2 per cent rate in the fourth quarter, reflecting reductions in defence and non-defence spending at the federal level. Spending by state and local governments was unchanged, an improvement from a previous estimate which showed state and local spending still falling.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said after a Fed meeting last week that the central bank still expects the economy to strengthen this year, which would help put more people to work.

At that meeting, the Fed decided to reduce its monthly bond purchases by another $10 billion, the third such reduction since December. That puts the bond purchases, which are intended to keep long-term loan rates low to encourage spending and growth, at $55 billion.

Many economists think that as long as the economy keeps improving, the Fed will keep cutting the bond purchases by $10 billion at each meeting this year until ending the program entirely in December.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News




Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15133.85-130.20
S&P CDNX702.30-2.05
DJIA18203.37-85.26
Nasdaq4979.901-28.195
S&P 5002107.78-9.61
CDN Dollar0.8006+0.0031
Gold1220.40+7.80
Oil51.59-0.55
Lumber293.00-6.50
Natural Gas2.699-0.035

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.13-0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.600.00
Cantex0.035-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.175-0.005
Metalex Ventures0.0450.00
Russel Metals25.21-0.33
Copper Mountain Mining1.25-0.04
Colorado Resources0.1350.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.0065-0.0015
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.045-0.005
Mission Ready Services0.215-0.01

 





FEATURED Property
17926153370 Neid Road, Kelowna, BC
5 bedrooms 5 baths
$1,895,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Refinance your mortgage?

Canadian Mortgage rates are low and could be dropping down in time for the spring market following a drop in the Bank of Canada Rate on January 21 by 1/4% which will save new buyers and those with mo...


Creating your retirement vision

A vision means different things to different people. To the head of a large corporation, it’s the ability to chart a course that will deliver success (think Steve Jobs and Apple), to a shaman, i...


Are you asking the right questions?

Have you ever had this happen to you? You are in the middle of your second or third good discussion with a prospect and everything seems to be going great. The prospect seems engaged and happy to work...

_








Member of BC Press Council


24681