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Economy grew fast in fourth quarter


The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010, recapturing its pre-recession peak, Reuters reported.

And though it would have grown at a 7.1 percent pace had businesses not quelled increases in inventories, strong exports and gains in consumer spending have helped remove doubts about a sustainable economic recovery following the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Reuters said.

Consumer spending also increased in the final three months of 2010, growing at a 4.4 percent rate – the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2006 – as the pace of business spending on equipment and software grew for the seventh consecutive quarter, though many businesses have been hesitant to hire, Reuters said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said today that confidence in a sustainable economic recovery is mounting, but he expects a slow turnaround for the U.S. unemployment rate, which fell to 9.4 percent in December from 9.8 percent the prior month.

“The conclusion is the economy appears to be self-sustaining,” said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist with The Davidson Cos.

The economy grew by 2.9 percent for the whole of 2010, the largest increase since 2005.

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