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The U.S. economy grew at a 3.3% pace in the fourth quarter, much better than expected

The economy grew much more rapid pace than expected in the final three months of 2023, as the U.S. easily skirted a recession that many forecasters had thought was inevitable, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Gross domestic product, a measure of all the goods and services produced, increased at a 3.3% annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to data adjusted seasonally and for inflation.

That compared to the Wall Street consensus estimate for a gain of 2% in the final three months of the year. The third quarter grew at a 4.9% pace.

The U.S. economy for all of 2023 accelerated at a 2.5% annualized pace, well ahead of the Wall Street outlook at the beginning of the year for few if any gains.

As had been the case through the year, a strong pace of consumer spending helped drive the expansion. Personal consumption expenditures increased 2.8% for the quarter, down just slightly from the previous period.

State and local government spending also contributed, up 3.7%, as did a 2.5% increase in federal government expenditures. Gross private domestic investment rose 2.1%, another significant factor for the robust quarter.

On the inflation front, the price index for personal consumption expenditures rose 2.7%, down from 5.9% in Q3, while the core figure excluding food and energy posted a 3.2% increase, compared to 5.1% in the previous period.

This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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