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Economy Grows in the Fourth Quarter as GDP Gets Boost From Dropping Trade Deficit

The economy grew a bit faster than 2.0% in the fourth quarter of 2019, aided by a temporary decrease in imports and a resurgent housing market. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.1% pace. Analysts surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 1.9% rise.

GDP reached 3.1% in the first quarter of 2019, but growth waned to about 2.0% after the trade war with China intensified and business investment declined.

The view of the economy toward the end of 2019 offers a glimpse of what could be in store for 2020. Consumer spending has driven a record expansion now in its 11th year even as companies have reduced investment and production. Those trends are likely to continue.