Economy Improving in 4th Quarter

December 30, 2009

Source: Jeannine Aversa, The Associated Press

The economy grew 2.2 percent in the third quarter. The U.S. Commerce Department had previously estimated a 2.8 percent growth rate. Officials attributed the discrepancy to consumer caution, saying that consumers simply didn't spend as much.

Many analysts still believe the economy is likely to improve in the current quarter, growing at an estimated 4 percent, or perhaps, even 5 percent. Fourth quarter results will be released Jan. 29.

Companies stocking depleted inventories will drive fourth-quarter growth, but the results will continue to reflect consumer caution. "We expect a better performance in the fourth quarter, but the core problems for the economy - bust banks and a massively overleveraged consumer - have not gone away," says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at High Frequency Economics.

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