Economy grows at 5.7 percent pace - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Economy grows at 5.7 percent pace


















WASHINGTON. - The economy grew for a second straight quarter from October through December, posting a 5.7 percent annual rate, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2003.
     
The Commerce Department report is the strongest evidence to date that the worst recession since the 1930s ended last year, though an academic panel that dates recessions has yet to officially declare an end to it.
     
The two straight quarters of growth last year followed a record four quarters of economic decline. Still, the growth at the end of last year was primarily fueled by companies refilling depleted stockpiles, a trend that will soon fade.
     
The report also provides an upbeat end to an otherwise dismal year, the nation's economy declined 2.4 percent in 2009, the largest drop since 1946.

Wages and benefits rise weak 1.5 percent

Wages and benefits paid to U.S. workers posted a modest gain in the fourth quarter, ending a year in which recession-battered workers saw their compensation rise by the smallest amount on records going back more than a quarter-century.
     
The Labor Department said that wages and benefits rose by 0.5 percent in the three months ending in December. For the entire year, wages and benefits were up 1.5 percent, the weakest showing on records that go back to 1982.
     
The anemic compensation gains have raised concerns about the durability of the economic recovery. The fear is that consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, could falter if households don't have the income growth to support their spending.

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