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The year 2014 ended on a positive note as the most of the domestic economic reports released in December continued with the same theme we have seen over the past several months: stronger GDP growth, employment gains, better consumer spending, and lower oil prices. The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in eleven years in the third quarter, 5% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, up from the previous estimate of 3.9%. Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of GDP, was revised up to 3.2% from 2.2%, while growth in domestic demand came in at 4.1%, ahead of the 3.2% pace previously reported. Spending on equipment, intellectual property product, and nonresidential structures pushed business investment growth to an 8.9% pace as compared to the prior estimate of 7.1%. Combined, the second and third quarter GDP figures mark the strongest six-month reading in more than ten years. The accelerating economic data is supportive of increased consumer optimism as we begin 2015.
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