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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid