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US economy grew 3 percent in fourth quarter 2011

Last year's economic growth was the fastest since spring 2010.

us economic growth 4th quarter 2011 3 percentEnlarge
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 26, 2012 in New York City. The market soared to a 12-month high after comments made by Ben Bernanke regarding the economy. (Andrew Burton/AFP/Getty Images)

The US economy grew 3 percent in the last quarter of 2011, according to government data released today. However, the growth is not expected to continue into the next quarter, according to the Associated Press.

The AP wrote "that growth likely slowed in the first three months of this year as businesses cut back on restocking their shelves."

According to polling data recently released by Rasmussen, a polling firm, US consumer confidence reached a four-year high two days ago.

Bloomberg added some negative news to the mix, noting that "corporate profits climbed at the slowest pace in three years, raising the risk that business investment and hiring will cool." However, jobless claims in the US on Thursday reached the lowest level in four years, The New York Times reported. The Times noted that in fourth quarter 2011 "personal income grew at a much faster pace than previously thought, which should help underpin spending this quarter."

“Businesses are going to remain very cautious about hiring permanent staff and investing in new equipment,” Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, told Bloomberg.

The stock markets held steady on the news, since the government growth numbers matched earlier forecasts.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120329/us-economy-grew-3-percent-fourth-quarter-2011