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US economy in fastest growth rate for six years

January 29, 2010 | “BBC News"

The US economy grew by an annualised rate of 5.7% between October and December, official figures have shown.

The number, which is a first estimate, is a big rise from the previous quarter's growth rate of 2.2%.

It suggests the country's economy is growing at its fastest pace for six years and confirms the US economy has left its year-long recession behind.

But even with the rebound, gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 2.4% across 2009 as a whole.

That was the worst annual performance since 1946.

US GDP is expressed as an annualised rate, or annual pace, which shows what the annual rate would be if the latest change continued for the rest of the year.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which releases the data, emphasised that the fourth-quarter advance estimate is based on incomplete information and is subject to further revision.

Growth in the third quarter was originally estimated at an annualised rate of 3.5%, but was revised down to 2.2% after more information was received.

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