US economy grows 5.7%

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US economy grows 5.7%

LaGuardia Airport is seen in the background of the Chrysler Building from the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building in New York on January 18, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

The United States economy expanded 5.7% in 2021, marking the best one-year performance since 1984 and underscoring the recovery from a coronavirus pandemic-induced economic downturn, data from the Commerce Department showed Thursday.

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In the October to December quarter, the economy grew an annualised real 6.9% from the preceding quarter. The growth in terms of inflation-adjusted gross domestic product exceeded the average market forecast of 5.5%.

But the outlook remains uncertain amid the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with cases skyrocketing earlier this month, and rising inflation on the back of ongoing pandemic-related supply chain disruptions.

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President Joe Biden credited the strong gross domestic product figures in his first year in office to his economic strategy of aiming to create jobs and strengthening supply chains at home, touting in a statement that “for the first time in 20 years, our economy grew faster than China’s.”

In 2020, which was the first year into the pandemic, the US economy shrank 3.4%, the largest contraction since 1946.

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But the year 2021 ended on a positive note, with private consumption, which accounts for two-thirds of the world’s largest economy, growing 3.3% in the final quarter following a 2.0% increase in the July-September period.

Nonresidential private investment, a measure of business spending, gained 2.0%, after a 1.7% rise in the previous quarter.

Exports and imports in the October-December quarter soared 24.5% and 17.7%, respectively.

Government spending was down 2.9%, after edging up 0.9% in the previous three-month period.

GDP measures the total output of goods and services within a country’s borders.

The last year in which US growth exceeded 5.7% was 1984, with the economy expanding 7.2% following a recession.

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