News / USA

US Economy Grew Faster in Late 2011

A December 26, 2011 file photo shows a woman walking down 34th Street with the fruits of her shopping expedition on the day after Christmas in New York
A December 26, 2011 file photo shows a woman walking down 34th Street with the fruits of her shopping expedition on the day after Christmas in New York

The U.S. economy, the world's largest, grew at its fastest pace in a year-and-a-half in late 2011, but questions remain whether the advance will continue in coming months.

The U.S. government said Friday the country's national economic output increased 2.8 percent in the October-to-December period, a bit below the 3 percent estimate economists had projected. But the fourth quarter advance was the best of the year and the quickest pace since the April-to-June period in 2010.

For the year, the U.S. economy grew just 1.7 percent, after expanding 3 percent in 2010.

The government said the fourth quarter advance was boosted by companies rebuilding their inventories, and heightened consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the national economy. But some of the spending came as Americans cut their savings rate.

While analysts said the American economy ended 2011 on a reasonably positive note, the advance could slow in the first months of 2012. With inventories rebuilt, businesses could ease their spending, and the U.S. is faced with a stalled economy throughout Europe, which could limit exports to one of its major trading partners.

The U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, this week forecast the country's 2012 economic growth at 2.2 to 2.7 percent, a slightly lower projection than it made just two months ago.

The U.S. economy has struggled to recover from the recession that extended from 2007 to 2009, advancing by some measurements, retreating in other ways.

The country's jobless rate, while still high by historical standards, declined to 8.5 percent in December, a figure that the nation's central bank says could edge lower in the coming months. About 200,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, but 13 million workers remain unemployed, with millions more having given up looking for work or employed in part-time jobs even as they seek full-time work.

The U.S. housing market is perhaps the weakest link in the national economy, with the fewest ever number of new homes sold in 2011, based on records dating back nearly a half century.

Central bank officials have often expressed disappointment that several policy shifts have failed to consistently boost the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve this week said it would keep its benchmark interest near zero through late 2014, a year-and-a-half longer than previously announced, in a renewed effort to assure financial institutions that their borrowing costs will remain low for the next three years.

But the continued low rate also was an acknowledgement that the U.S. economy is still not advancing as fast as government leaders has hoped.

The national economy has become the key issue in the country's 2012 presidential race, as U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, seeks a second four-year term. His two main Republican opponents - one-time venture capitalist Mitt Romney and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich - have both staunchly criticized Mr. Obama's handling of the national economy as they vie for their party's nomination to oppose him in the national election in November.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid