US economy took extra spurt at '79 year-end

The US economy, shrugging off predictions of a recession, showed more strength during the October-December quarter than previously believed, the government announced Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said the gross national product -- the value of all goods and services produced by Americans -- rose at a 2.1 percent annual rate during last year's fourth quarter, to $2.46 trillion.

The Commerce Department originally announced last month that the fourth-quarter growth rate was 1.4 percent. The estimate was revised Wednesday, based on more complete information.

According to the new report, three categories were revised upward to account for the overall higher estimate.

Business investment was $3.9 billion above the previous estimate, federal government purchases were $1.4 billion higher, and personal consumption expenditures were $800 million ahead of last month's estimate.

The revised fourth-quarter performance means that overall 1979 growth -- from the fourth quarter of 1978 to the fourth quarter of 1979 -- was 1 percent, compared with the previous estimate of 0.8 percent.

The Commerce Department report also said that inflation, as measured by the so-called "explicit price deflator," rose at an 8.7 percent annual rate during the October-December period, compared with 8.5 percent in the third quarter.

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