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U.S. economy unexpectedly grows more than previously estimated

Christian Fernsby |
Economic activity in the U.S. unexpectedly grew faster than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to revised data released by the Commerce Department.

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Topics: U.S.   

The report showed real gross domestic product surged up by 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 4.1 percent jump. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be unrevised.

The Commerce Department said the stronger than previously estimated growth primarily reflected an upward revision to private inventory investment that was partly offset by a downward revision to non-residential fixed investment.

Despite the upward revision, the GDP growth in the fourth quarter still reflects a substantial slowdown from the 33.4 percent spike seen in the third quarter.

The GDP growth in the fourth quarter reflected increases in exports, non-residential fixed investment, consumer spending, residential fixed investment, and private inventory investment.

However, decreases in state and local government spending as well as federal government spending partly offset the positive contributions along with an increase in imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP.

The report also showed real GDP decreased by 3.5 percent in 2020 compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2019.

For the full year, decreases in consumer spending, exports, private inventory investment, non-residential fixed investment, and state and local government were partly offset by increases in federal government spending and residential fixed investment.

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