Business

US fourth-quarter growth rate revised up

US factory worker Image copyright Getty Images

The US economy grew faster than initially estimated in the final months of 2016, the latest figures show.

The economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.1% in the fourth quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said, up from an earlier estimate of 1.9%.

Consumer spending, which accounts for around two-thirds of US economic activity, was stronger than initially thought, the report showed.

But the economy still slowed from third quarter growth of 3.5%.

And the revision did not alter the growth rate for the whole of 2016, which remained at 1.6% - the slowest since 2011.

'New normal'

The sluggish growth will make it more difficult for President Donald Trump to meet his pledge to lift GDP growth to 4%, through tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

The last time that America's economy grew at that rate was in 2000, the year of the dotcom boom, when it expanded by 4.1%.

"Many leading economists argue that current GDP expansion rates are the 'new normal' and therefore, today's figures should be seen as fairly robust," commented Dennis de Jong from UFX.com.

"Whether the President or the economic consensus is right remains to be seen, but in general the US economy appears to be in good shape, buoyed by strong consumer confidence and positive job figures over recent weeks."

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