NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- CEOs spend a lot of time talking about the economy, but Thursday's report on fourth-quarter gross domestic product makes clear that it's time for them to do something about it. They're the missing link between the recovery we have and the recovery we want.
The Commerce Department this morning revised estimates of fourth-quarter growth upward, saying the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6%, rather than the 2.4% it estimated last month. The new data point to stronger consumer spending than we thought, especially on services: The 3.3% annualized climb in household spending is the best since 2010's fourth quarter. And the data pointed to a little bit smaller hit from the October government shutdown, as government spending at all levels shrank at a 5.2% annual rate.
But private investment, which goes down more than the rest of the economy when things are slow, isn't showing the sharp rebound that should be happening right now. It rose at only a 2.5% rate, as spending on business structures such as offices and factories actually dropped and even residential investment growth slowed. (The residential slowdown is probably about December's weather). Aside from an encouraging 10.8% gain in equipment spending, including a historically average 4% growth pace in intellectual property investment, CEOs sat on their wallets.
Unlike everyone else.
It's not as if they don't have the money. Corporate profits climbed at a 2.2% rate, according to the same report, and continue to be at or near all-time highs.