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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs