U.S. economy gains momentum
The U.S. economy grew 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 2.6 percent growth in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday.
The results are based on preliminary data and are likely to be refined late next month.
The improvement in productivity reflected a sharp decrease in imports, and an increase in exports and consumer spending.
The figure is further confirmation that economic recovery is picking up pace and may lead to more jobs for some 9 million unemployed people, further putting the economy on a sustainable path.
Real exports of goods and services increased 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a third quarter increase of 6.8 percent. Real imports of goods and services decreased 13.6 percent, in contrast to an increase of 16.8 percent in the third quarter.
Business inventory investment was down, subtracting 3.7 percentage points from the fourth-quarter change in real GDP. Inventories increased $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter compared to $121.4 billion in the third quarter and $68.8 billion in the second quarter. As businesses replenish inventories, imports are expected to increase in the near term.