US GDP for Previous Quarter Adjusted Upward to a Robust Annual 3.4%

James Hyerczyk
Updated: Mar 28, 2024, 15:25 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • Consumer spending, business investment fuel 3.4% Q4 economic growth.
  • Federal Reserve's rate strategy effectively balances growth, inflation control.
  • Broad-based sector growth highlights US economy's strength and diversity.

Fourth Quarter Economic Strength

In the fourth quarter of 2023, the US economy exhibited a solid growth rate of 3.4%, an upward revision from an initial estimate of 3.2%. This growth, albeit a slight reduction from the previous quarter’s 4.9%, signals a steady economic environment, achieved against the backdrop of rising interest rates. The boost was mainly due to increased consumer spending, exports, and business investments in infrastructure and software.

Annual and Quarterly Perspectives

Over the full year of 2023, the US economy expanded by 2.5%, showing improvement from 2022’s 1.9%. Despite the Federal Reserve’s series of rate hikes starting in March 2022, the economy maintained its expansionary path. Presently, in the first quarter of 2024, the economy is projected to grow at a 2.1% annual rate, as per forecasts from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

The Federal Reserve’s approach of incrementally raising borrowing rates to counter inflation has not led to the feared economic downturn or significant job losses. Instead, the employment sector has flourished, with an average of 251,000 jobs added monthly in the past year, and a higher rate of 265,000 jobs per month from December through February. Inflation, which had reached a peak of 9.1% in mid-2022, has eased down to 3.2%, still over the Federal Reserve’s 2% goal.

Industry Contributions

Growth in the fourth quarter was reinforced by the strong performance of various industries. Manufacturing and construction sectors led the charge in goods production, while retail trade and healthcare significantly contributed to the services sector. Government expenditure at both federal and state levels also played a crucial role.

Short-Term Market Forecast

Given these developments, the short-term outlook for the US economy is positively inclined. The blend of continuous growth, a solid job market, and reduced inflation sets a positive stage for the economy. However, market participants should stay alert for possible fluctuations, particularly considering the Federal Reserve’s rate policies and the wider economic conditions. Investment opportunities seem especially promising in consumer-focused markets and nonfinancial corporate sectors, aligning with current growth trends.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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