The U.S. economy expanded at a rate of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, much better than Wall Street analysts expected and very close to President Trump’s goal of 3 percent growth.
The strong growth came largely from Americans opening their wallets to spend more. Businesses also boosted their spending at the end of last year, beefing up their inventories as executives expect sales to pick up. There was also more federal government spending, especially on defense, according to the report.
The new estimate revises the government’s previous estimate for growth from October through December, which was 2.5 percent. The jump to 2.9 percent growth was better than economists expected and means that the U.S. economy grew at an average pace of 3.1 percent from April through December of last year.
The U.S. economy has been growing for more than eight years, already making this the third-longest expansion in U.S. history. It could easily become the longest, many economists say, beating out the 10-year stretch of growth from 1991 to 2001.