US economy grows 3.2% in fourth quarter

The American economy grew 3.2%, over the fourth quarter of last year, up from the 2.6% GDP growth recorded in the third quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

As a result, over the course of 2010 real GDP rose 2.9% in 2010 after falling 2.6% in 2009.

The growth over the quarter was down on the 3.5% that economists had expected, although it is a first estimate and may later be upgraded.

The labour department said the increase in real GDP in the quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. (article continues below)

Indeed, consumer spending saw its largest quarterly rise since the first quarter of 2006, rising 4.4% in the fourth quarter.