The burst of energy the economy showed at the end of last year is not likely to be repeated anytime soon.
The Commerce Department said the economy grew at a 5.6 per cent annual pace in the fourth quarter of 2009 in its third and final estimate of economic activity for the period.
Even though growth turned out to be less than the government’s previous two estimates for the quarter — 5.9 per cent was the most recent estimate — the reading still marked the strongest showing in six years. Economists had expected the latest estimate to be unchanged.
Most of last quarter’s growth came from a large bump up in manufacturing — factories were churning out goods for businesses that had let their stockpiles dwindle to save cash. If consumer spending remains lackluster as expected, that burst of manufacturing — and its contribution to economic activity — will fade.