U.S. economy grows 3.2 percent in Q4; gains 1.9 percent in 2013

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 3.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013, according to the Commerce Department report released Thursday in Washington, driven by consumers and businesses who ignored the impact of a government shutdown and standoff among politicians over the debt ceiling.

The growth rate of the world’s biggest economy comes after a 4.1 percent rise in the previous three months, the government report said. Household purchases increased by 3.3 percent, the fastest pace since the end of 2010.

Last quarter’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is in line with analyst’s median forecast in a survey by Bloomberg News. Estimates of 87 economists ranged from 0.9 percent to 4.2 percent gain.

The weak GDP growth in the first half of 2013 dragged the full-year growth rate to 1.9 percent, lower than the 2.8 percent pace in 2012.

The last three months of 2013 saw broad-based rise in demand due to pick up in business investment and exports, offsetting the effects of the 16-day partial federal government shutdown and budget cuts.

The fourth-quarter GDP was also helped by improved levels in consumer spending as the year winds down. Personal consumption expenditures, which contributes more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, jumped by 3.3 percent on an annualized basis, the strongest performance in three years.

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