February 29, 2012 by David K. Sutton
U.S. Economy Grew 3% In 4th Quarter 2011
The U.S. Economy grew 3% in the last quarter of 2011 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Commerce Department raised its growth estimate for the final three months of 2011, to 3 percent from 2.8 percent.
Income gains in the second half of 2011 were stronger than previously reported, which may bolster household purchases that make up 70 percent of the economy.
In the third quarter, incomes climbed 0.7 percent compared with a 1.9 percent slump that was initially reported.
Employers added 243,000 workers in January, the most in nine months, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, Labor Department data show.
Most of last quarter’s growth stemmed from a jump in company restocking. That happened because businesses rebuilt inventories that had been depleted last summer. Stockpiling is expected to slow sharply this quarter. And as it slows, economic growth could, too.
Expectations for growth this quarter are slightly better than they were a month ago. Economists expect the economy to expand at a roughly 2 percent annual pace in the current quarter and about 2.5 percent for the full year, according to the National Association for Business Economics.
After taxes, inflation-adjusted incomes rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter. That’s nearly double the first estimate.
The Commerce Department said the economy expanded at a 3 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter — the fastest pace since the spring of 2010. It exceeded the previous estimate of 2.8 percent. And it was better than the third quarter’s 1.8 percent growth rate.
In another report released Wednesday, known as the Beige Book, the Federal Reserve said that all 12 of its banking districts reported some level of growth in January and the first half of February.