The MMS median forecast is that the fourth-quarter economy grew at a strong 4.8% annual rate. The most optimistic economist projects a 5.5% surge in real GDP. Consumer spending, homebuilding, and business investment on equipment generated much of the growth, but rebuilding from the summer's Midwest floods and the fires in California lifted nonresidential construction as well. Inflation, as measured by the GDP price deflator, probably rose at a 2.3% annual rate last quarter. That's up from the 1.6% rise in the third period, but still quite mild.
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