US economy grew at 0.1 percent rate in 4th quarter - New York News

US economy grew at 0.1 percent rate in 4th quarter

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a 0.1 percent annual rate from October through December, the weakest performance in nearly two years. But economists believe a steady housing rebound and solid business and consumer spending is pushing growth higher in the current quarter.

The Commerce Department's revision to fourth-quarter growth was only slightly better than its initial estimate that the economy shrank at a rate of 0.1 percent. And it was well below the 3.1 percent growth rate reported for the July-September quarter.

The modest revision to the fourth-quarter gross domestic product was due to higher exports and more business investment.

GDP is the broadest measure of the economy's output. Sharp declines in defense spending and in company stockpiling held back growth in the fourth quarter.

Still, consumer spending and business investment -- two key drivers of growth -- accelerated at the end of last year. That indicated the economy would likely rebound in the current quarter.

Economists forecast that growth will pick up to an annual pace of about 1.5 percent in the January-March quarter despite higher Social Security taxes, which have reduced take-home pay for most Americans.

Growth at that pace is still relatively weak. And the economy could continue to struggle if policymakers in Washington cannot reach agreements over the budget his month, including billions of dollars in spending cuts that are set to begin on Friday.

Still, a raft of recent reports suggests that many aspects of the economy are improving. And many analysts predict growth will pick up later this year.

Hiring has picked up in recent months, providing more income. Employers have added an average of 200,000 jobs per month in the past three months. That's up from an average of 150,000 in the previous three months.

More jobs and ultra-low mortgage rates are helping the once-battered housing market recover. New home sales jumped 16 percent to their highest level in four and a half years in January.

At the same time, the number of new homes available for sale remains near record lows. That means builders will likely have to start construction on more homes and apartments to keep up with demand. That should create more construction jobs.

Home prices also rose in December compared to the same month a year ago by the most in more than six years. Rising home values also contribute to the housing recovery and the broader economy. They encourage more people to buy before prices rise further. Higher prices also build homeowners' wealth, which can spur more spending and economic growth.

Businesses and consumers are also showing greater confidence despite automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect on Friday. A measure of consumer confidence rebounded in February after a sharp fall the previous month that likely was a result of the tax increase.

Companies, meanwhile, sharply increased orders for a category of long-lasting manufactured goods that reflect their investment plans. That suggests they are confident about their business prospects.

  • Your MoneyMore>>

  • Dunkin' Donuts cashiers will try to 'upsell' you in the afternoon

    Dunkin' Donuts cashiers will try to 'upsell' you in the afternoon

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:54 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:54:31 GMT
    If an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts is part of your afternoon routine, expect a nudge to buy a cookie or doughnut you didn't plan on. Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis said in a phone interview Thursday that the company is pushing to get its cashiers to "upsell" to afternoon customers. It's part of an effort to increase sales after stores have emptied out after the morning rush.
    If an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts is part of your afternoon routine, expect a nudge to buy a cookie or doughnut you didn't plan on. Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis said in a phone interview Thursday that the company is pushing to get its cashiers to "upsell" to afternoon customers. It's part of an effort to increase sales after stores have emptied out after the morning rush.
  • iPad sales decline

    Are tablets already on their way out?

    Are tablets already on their way out?

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:50 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:50:16 GMT

    Four years ago, tablet owners starting raving about the market's newest piece of mobile technology. Last quarter, Apple iPad sales fell by 9 percent. Still, forecasting the death of the tablet seems premature and incorrect. More likely, all our devices are cross-breeding and evolving until all our calling, emailing, texting, messaging, Internetting, TV watching, all our communication happens on one mobile gadget.


    Four years ago, tablet owners starting raving about the market's newest piece of mobile technology. Last quarter, Apple iPad sales fell by 9 percent. Still, forecasting the death of the tablet seems premature and incorrect. More likely, all our devices are cross-breeding and evolving until all our calling, emailing, texting, messaging, Internetting, TV watching, all our communication happens on one mobile gadget.
  • Cooler inventor raises $7 million in two weeks

    Cooler inventor raises $7 million in two weeks

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:24 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:24:47 GMT

    What is being described as the coolest cooler of the 21st century is getting a lot of backers via Kickstarter.  Ryan Grepper, an inventor from Portland, Oregon, says he was tired of regular coolers.

    What is being described as the coolest cooler of the 21st century is getting a lot of backers via Kickstarter.  Ryan Grepper, an inventor from Portland, Oregon, says he was tired of regular coolers.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:35 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:35:36 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
  • The Big Idea

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:32 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:32:18 GMT
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
  • G subway line shutting down for 5 weeks

    G subway line shutting down for 5 weeks

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:02 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:02:01 GMT
    Beginning Friday night, a portion of the G subway line that connects Brooklyn and Queens will be shut down for five weeks.
    Beginning Friday night, a portion of the G subway line that connects Brooklyn and Queens will be shut down for five weeks.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices