Friday, March 6, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Economy expands at 0.4 percent rate

By
From page A2 | March 28, 2013 |

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster but still anemic rate at the end of last year. However, there is hope that growth accelerated in early 2013 despite higher taxes and cuts in government spending.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the October-December quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was slightly better than the previous estimate of 0.1 percent growth. The revision reflected stronger business investment and export sales.

Analysts think the economy is growing at a rate of around 2.5 percent in the current January-March quarter, which ends this week.

Steady hiring has kept consumers spending this year. And a rebound in company stockpiling, further gains in housing and more business spending also likely drove faster growth in the first quarter.

The 0.4 percent growth rate for the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, was the weakest quarterly performance in almost two years and followed a much faster 3.1 percent increase in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was hurt by the sharpest fall in defense spending in 40 years.

For all of 2012, the economy grew 2.2 percent after a 1.8 percent increase in 2011 and a 2.4 percent advance in 2010. Since the recession ended in mid-2009, the economy has been expanding at sub-par rates as a string of problems from higher gas prices to Europe’s debt crisis have acted as a drag on the U.S. economy.

Growth appears to be strengthening this year even after taxes increased on Jan. 1 and automatic government spending cuts totaling $85 billion started to take effect on March 1. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the combination of tax increases and spending cuts could trim economic growth this year by about 1.5 percentage points. The CBO is predicting just 1.5 percent growth for 2013.

But so far, the economy is showing signs of holding its own against the fiscal drag.

Employers have added an average of 200,000 jobs a month since November. That helped lower the unemployment rate in February to 7.7 percent, a four-year low.

Economists expect similar job gains in March, in part because a measure of unemployment benefit applications fell this month to a five-year low.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose in February to the highest level in nearly three years, while builders broke ground on more houses and apartments. Annual home prices jumped in January by the most since June 2006, according to a closely watched measure.

Stock prices have surged. On Wednesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was within two points of its all-time high.

All of that is making consumers feel wealthier, which could lead to more spending. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic activity.

The Federal Reserve still thinks the economy needs aggressive measures to bolster growth. Last week it stood by its plan to keep a key short-term interest rate near zero until unemployment drops below 6.5 percent. The Fed also left unchanged its plan to keep buying $85 billion in bonds until it sees a substantial improvement in the job market.

The slowdown in business inventories trimmed 1.5 percentage point from growth in the fourth quarter and the reductions in defense spending cut another 1.3 percentage point from growth.

Consumer spending was growing at a 1.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter, slightly better than the 1.6 percent increase in the third quarter but down from last month’s estimate that consumer spending was growing by 2.1 percent.

That revision was offset by upward revisions in business investment spending on structures and equipment and by stronger sales of U.S. exports.

The government first estimated two months ago that the economy had contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, a decline that was erased by the revisions.

The government will release its first look at first quarter growth on April 26.

————

By Martin Crutsinger, AP economics writer

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Bay Area developers join Mace proposal

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Trial ordered in Davis child death case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

‘Topping out': Sign a building beam at the Shrem Museum

By Jeffrey Day | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Life after lawn: Fifty greens for shade

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Bob Dunning: There’s an exception to every rule

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
Ukraine declares heavy weapons pullback from front line

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

NASA craft circling Ceres in first visit to dwarf planet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
CHP car hit with bullet on highway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

UCD police warn of sexual battery incident

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Got sun? Indoor herbs can thrive on windowsills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Quick home improvements that raise your resale value

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
How can we know that the products we buy for our homes are safe?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Spring-clean your kitchen in five easy steps

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Workshop eyes creating peace through creative play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

 
Museum brick sales to end this month

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

Cabrillo Club plans membership dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

 
Dryers: Homes’ energy guzzlers just got greener

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
UCD improving farming, food production with fewer pesticides

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: B6 | Gallery

PSAs highlight area nonprofits

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
Peripheral neuropathy support offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

Waldorf’s spring tea party doubles as open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Register online for Woodland rec classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Older adults will discuss conscious aging movement

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7Comments are off for this post

 
Seniors serious about fitness

By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Pig out at Pig Day Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Porkers on display at Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
St. John’s shows off cuisine at brunch

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

.

Forum

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

 
Some convicts don’t deserve parole hearings

By Tom Elias | From Page: B4

Here’s how to make college cheaper

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Obama’s world is a dangerous place

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Dirty laundry on the company line

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

UCD women fall at UCR

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Aggie men clinch Big West crown

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Marsh provides radio images of a ‘magical’ Aggie hoops season

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil volleyballers cruise in home opener

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS girls track and field team reloads for 2015

By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Bella Vista slips past DHS softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

.

Features

 
Rec Report: Looking ahead to spring break

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Wineaux: A local diamond in the rough, revisited

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9

.

Arts

Steve Kiser’s work on display at Gallery 1855

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Tables available at Vinyl and Music Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel': Second-rate

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Learn from experts at ‘Art of Painting’ conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Tom Brousseau to visit ‘Live in the Loam’ on KDRT

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ auditions set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela celebrate Mandela’s legacy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honey, we shrank the SUV — and Europe loves it

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, March 6, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10