US economy slows in fourth quarter

The Commerce Department's third estimate of GDP growth on Friday was left unrevised at an annual rate of 2.2 percent following the third quarter's blistering 5.0 percent paceThe US economy slowed in the final quarter of 2014, with a sharp gain in consumer spending driving growth, but the outlook for the first quarter is even dimmer. As the Federal Reserve mulls raising near-zero interest rates this year, the Commerce Department’s third estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth Friday was left unrevised at an annual rate of 2.2 percent following the third quarter’s blistering 5.0 percent pace. Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of output in the world’s largest economy, was revised upward to 4.4 percent, the strongest gain in nearly nine years, from 4.2 percent. The personal consumption expenditures price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, fell at an annual rate of 0.4 percent after a 1.2 percent rise in third quarter.

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