US 4th Quarter Growth Falls Below Expectations

Despite expanding at the fastest rate in over a year, U.S. 4th quarter growth fell short of the 3.0 percent expansion economists had predicted. Still, the 2.8 percent annualized increase was a strong improvement over the 1.8 percent recorded in the previous quarter.

However, there are concerns that given the main areas responsible for driving growth for the quarter, the rate of expansion cannot be sustained.

“The economy ended 2011 on a fairly positive note, but the composition of growth in the last quarter is not favorable for growth early this year,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Growth in the fourth quarter got a temporary boost from the rebuilding of business inventories, which was the fastest since the third quarter of 2010, after they declined in the third-quarter for the first time since late 2009.

Source: Reuters

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