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U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth revised to 2.6 percent

Despite the tepid growth, GDP numbers are promising considering that wintery weather affected the shopping season towards the end of last year.

By
Ananth Baliga
GDP numbers are encouraging after the last quarter of 2013 was hit with wintery weather that dampened the shopping season and affected consumer spending. UPI/John Angelillo
GDP numbers are encouraging after the last quarter of 2013 was hit with wintery weather that dampened the shopping season and affected consumer spending. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- The Commerce Department revised its growth figures for the American economy, saying it grew by 2.6 percent, a modest uptick but still shy of growth seen in Q3.

The revised figures for the last quarter of 2013 show that the economy grew a little faster than previously estimated but still remains sluggish. The growth in the last quarter of 2013 was revised to 2.6 percent from the earlier estimated 2.4 percent. The improvement came from improved consumer spending.

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Still the upward revision was much lower than the initial estimate of 3.2 percent, suggesting that the economy's recovery slowed down toward the end of the year. The third-quarter pace was 4.1 percent.

But the the GDP growth came despite wintery weather that affected the final weeks of the holiday shopping season.

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“It is not the exciting number that is typical of postrecession recoveries, but it is good enough. This has been a stumbling sort of recovery all along, and this number is a continuation of that pattern,” said Lawrence Creatura, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors.

One of the sectors of the economy that has seen consistent growth was housing, but data out Thursday suggests that it is slowing. The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales dropped 0.8 percent in February to 93.9. This is the eighth straight month the index has dropped and the lowest level since October 2011.

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Economists say the economy is already shaking of the effects of the unusually harsh winter and expect growth to pick up in the spring.

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[The New York Times] [LATimes]

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