US Economic Growth Better Than First Thought

The U.S. economy grew a bit faster than first thought in the last few months of 2017, expanding at an annual rate of 2.9 percent, beating the earlier estimate by several tenths of a percent.

Wednesday’s report from the Commerce Department showed the improvement came in part from stronger consumer spending. The new figures are a routine revision made as more complete data becomes available.

The fourth-quarter figures added to several quarters of solid growth which saw the world’s largest economy expand 2.3 percent in 2017, which is significantly stronger than the prior year.

Some economists have been revising their forecasts for growth in 2018 following a major tax cut and plans to increase government spending over the next two years.

The stimulus from lower taxes and higher spending at a time of full employment is raising some concerns about inflation, and that is expected to prompt the U.S. central bank to continue raising interest rates. The Federal Reserve tries to keep inflation from rising so high or so fast that it damages the economy by using higher interest rates to cool economic activity.

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