Washington The US economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter. This was announced by the US Department of Commerce on Thursday.
The economy was still going quite well before the turn of the year, even if the USA is plagued by recession worries due to rising interest rates and high inflation. Experts surveyed by the Reuters news agency had expected an annualized increase of 2.6 percent, after growth of 3.2 percent in the summer quarter.
US growth numbers are annualized. They indicate how much the economy would grow if the current pace continued for four quarters. The figures are therefore not directly comparable with data from Europe. To approximate a growth rate comparable to Europe, you would have to divide the US rate by four.
Consumers increased their spending by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, after 2.3 percent in the summer, the ministry said. The companies increased their investments by 0.7 percent and thus not as much as in the summer with 6.2 percent at the time. Exports fell 1.3 percent after a strong 14.6 percent increase in the third quarter.
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US Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard believes a recession could be avoided. For 2023, the Fed expects economic growth to average 0.5 percent. The declining inflation rates have recently fueled hopes that the economic downturn will be less severe. In December 2022, the inflation rate fell to 6.5 percent – the lowest level since October 2021.
More: US inflation falling – but is a recession imminent?