U.S. Economic Growth Expected to Remain Strong Despite Darkening Outlook

The U.S. economy is expected to have grown strongly in the fourth quarter of 2020, but the outlook is darkening, according to Reuters.

Data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday showed that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) rose 2.9% in the fourth quarter of 2020, more than expected even as recession fears loom.

The GDP report showed that economic growth cooled slightly in the fourth quarter, compared to the third quarter, when the economy grew at an annual rate of 33.4%.

The news comes as jobless claims remain high and card earnings continue to be weak. The Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits in the week ending January 16 was 847,000, up from 803,000 in the previous week.

Meanwhile, card issuers reported that card spending fell 0.5% in December, compared to the same month a year ago.

The strong economic growth in the fourth quarter is expected to be followed by a slower pace of growth in the first quarter of 2021, as the economic recovery continues to be hampered by the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The outlook for the U.S. economy remains uncertain, as the pandemic continues to cause disruption to businesses and consumers alike. Investors will be closely watching the economic data in the coming weeks for further clues about the direction of the economy.