The U.S. economy expanded at 2.2 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter, led by the biggest gain in consumer spending in eight years.
The revised increase in gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, matched the Commerce Department’s previous estimate, according to figures issued Friday in Washington. The report also showed corporate profits dropped in the last three months of the year, capping the worst annual performance since the recession.
The rate of economic growth will prove hard to replicate this quarter as harsh winter weather, a stronger dollar, a port slowdown and a global oil glut translate into disappointing spending on the part of consumers and businesses. Job growth — one of the few economic indicators that charged ahead unabated in the first quarter — will probably help support demand in the world’s biggest economy for much of the year.
“The consumer is still going to hold up,” said Jacob Oubina, a senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York, which correctly forecast GDP. “As we look toward the middle of the year, you have a consumer that continues to see aggregate income growth.”
Stock-index futures were little changed, after equities’ longest losing streak in 10 weeks. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June fell 0.1 percent to 2,046.9 at 8:51 a.m. in New York.
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