GDP growth surpasses expectations

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Newly released federal economic data shows the U.S. economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2023 surpassed expectations.

The U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis Thursday released Gross Domestic Product data, a way of measuring the overall size of the nation’s economy, which showed the GDP grew 3.3% in the last three months of last year.

That data, while higher than expectations, was lower than the third quarter, where GDP grew 4.9%. The first two quarters of GDP saw less growth.

“Compared to the third quarter of 2023, the deceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected slowdowns in private inventory investment, federal government spending, residential fixed investment, and consumer spending. Imports decelerated,” BEA said.

On average, GDP grew 2.5% in 2023, fueled by the elevated fourth-quarter numbers.

“The increase in real GDP reflected increases in consumer spending, exports, state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment…” BEA said.

The GDP growth is a marked change from earlier in the Biden administration, where GDP declined in 2022 and raised concerns about recession.

BEA also released personal spending data for Americans.

“Disposable personal income increased $211.7 billion, or 4.2 percent, in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of $143.5 billion, or 2.9 percent, in the third quarter,” BEA said. “Real disposable personal income increased 2.5 percent, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent.”

Americans’ savings rate decreased slightly toward the end of the year.

“Personal saving was $818.9 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $851.2 billion in the third quarter,” BEA said. “The personal saving rate —personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 4.2 percent in the third quarter.”

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