In spite of reaching only 0.7% in fourth quarter of 2015

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the growth numbers for the U.S. economy for fourth quarter, and full-year, 2015. According to the BEA, economic growth was just 0.7% in the fourth quarter of the year, as business investment slowed down.

Better employment numbers have helped improve the housing market and auto sales, but the decline in oil prices and a strong dollar had mixed impacts on business and consumers. The economic slowdown in China, along with continued weakness in Europe, also dragged down many U.S. firms. Business investment was down 1.8% in the fourth quarter.

The GDP numbers showed a slowdown in inventory investment, trade and business spending, as well as a decline in net exports as the dollar continued to strengthen and overseas demand waned.

Full year economic growth still strong

Despite the sluggish fourth quarter numbers, U.S. economic growth in 2015 still beat the five-year average of 2.1%. Economic growth of 3.9% and 2% in the second and third quarters, respectively, kept the U.S. on track for GDP growth of 2.4% for the full year.

It remains to be seen if Q4 was just a dip down before a rebound – something that has happened several times since 2009 – or if it is a sign of stagnation. The advance GDP figures are based on incomplete information and often get revised as more data become available.

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