The economy grew at about twice the clip originally thought in the fourth quarter, the government said, as consumer spending held up and companies continued to add to inventories. The revised number, which was a little better than expected, brought 2002 growth to 2.4%.
Gross domestic product rose at an annualized 1.4% in the quarter, according to the Commerce Department, better than the 0.7% it predicted in its first estimate of the number. The gain follows a 4% annualized increase in the third quarter.
Businesses built up inventories in the quarter by $24.7 billion -- much higher than the $3.3 billion forecast in the initial estimate last month. The increase added 0.24 percentage points to the growth rate.
Business fixed investment rose at a 4.5% annual rate in the fourth quarter, up from an initially estimated 3.1%. Real final sales, which exclude inventories, rose at a 1.2% rate in the fourth quarter, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the first estimate and the 3.4% increase in the third quarter.