The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The economy grew at 3% annual rate in the fourth quarter, but first-half growth is likely to disappoint, renewing upward pressures on unemployment. Fourth quarter growth was powered by stronger consumer spending -- especially on autos, substantial additions to business inventories and stronger multifamily home construction. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. Through most of 2011 gains in consumer spending outpaced incomes; however, from November through January, real consumer spending was flat. In recent months, higher gas prices absorbed significant additions to nominal income created by a somewhat stronger labor market.
|President Obama touring the pipe yard for the Keystone XL pipeline project Thursday.|