The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter as consumer spending increased, the Commerce Department said Jan. 30.
The gain in gross domestic product matched economists’ forecasts and followed a 4.1% rise in the prior quarter. Spending by consumers in the fourth quarter increased 3.3%.
Growth in the second half of the year was the strongest since the six months ended March 2012, Bloomberg News reported.
Economists’ forecasts for GDP ranged from gains of 0.9% to 4.2%, Bloomberg reported.
Business inventories increased at a $127.2 billion annual rate from October through December, the biggest gain since 1998, after a $115.7 billion annual rate, Commerce said.
GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced.
For all of 2013, GDP increased 1.9% after rising 2.8% the prior year.
“There is a fair amount of strength in the economy,” Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Inc., told Bloomberg. “Consumer spending is on solid ground. We’re seeing other engines of growth picking up, capital spending is rebounding, exports are up.”