This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 28, 2019:
According to the Commerce Department, the U.S. economy grew by 2.9 percent last year. The economy grew at a 2.6-percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2018, beating forecasters’ expectations of 2.2 percent. After all, they looked at 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter, 3.4 percent growth in the third quarter, and so they just assumed that the economy would continue to trend downwards in the fourth. Some even began to use the “r” word (recession), predicting such an event for late 2019 or early 2020.
Instead, economic growth in the fourth quarter clocked in at 3.1 percent, ahead of the same period a year ago.
Non-professional observers see a much different picture than the professional naysayers. Brian Coulton of Fitch Ratings said:
Consumer spending continued to grow solidly and, most encouragingly, business investment growth recovered sharply after a dip in the third quarter.
Despite big external headwinds and financial market volatility in the fourth quarter, U.S. firms are not retrenching sharply on capex [capital expenditures]. Labor market strength and ongoing fiscal stimulus should see domestic demand expanding [into 2019].
Avery Shenfeld of CIBC Economics reprised Coulton: