U.S. economic activity expanded faster than expected in the final three months of 2022, marking a resilient end to a year defined by stubborn inflation, rising interest rates, and battered financial markets.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance estimate of Q4 U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) showed the economy grew at an annualized pace of 2.9% during the period, faster than consensus forecasts. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected this report to show the U.S. economy grew at an annualized pace of 2.6% during the final three months of 2022.
While the preliminary fourth-quarter reading reflects a slowdown from 3.2% in the prior period, the rise in GDP rounds out a year of healthy growth after the economy contracted in each of the first two quarters of 2022.
For the full year, GDP increased 2.1% compared to 5.9% across 2021, which was the fastest pace of growth since 1984.
The BEA attributed the rise in fourth quarter GDP to broad-based increases in private inventory investment, consumer spending, federal government spending, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment.
Those components, however, were partly offset by declines in residential fixed investment and exports. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, also decreased.
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) — or consumer spending — which comprises roughly two-thirds of domestic activity rose at 2.1% clip, a modest slowdown from 2.3% in the prior quarter.