Wall Street Journal (03/27/15) Kate Davidson; Ben Leubsdorf
The U.S. economy retreated toward the end of 2014 ahead of a contraction early this year. Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, a rate that was unchanged from the previous estimate last month. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected an upwardly revised figure of 2.4% growth. Economic output in the fourth quarter climbed 2.4% from a year ago, retreating from 2.7% annual growth in the third quarter.
Although consumer spending in the last quarter was the most robust since 2006, business investment and government outlays fell. And many economists cut their first-quarter GDP estimates earlier this week after a disappointing report on business spending and investment. Still, the economy has been performing well enough to add jobs at a strong pace.