WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. economic growth rate was upwardly revised to an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the previous estimate of a 0.1-percent decline, the U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday.
The growth rate last quarter was the weakest quarterly performance since the first quarter of 2011.
The increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, government spending and exports, said the department.
Real PCE increased 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent in the third quarter, noted the report.
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the overall U.S. economic activity, was the major engine of U.S. economic growth. An increase in consumer credit indicated consumers boosted their spending.
Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 14.8 percent in the fourth quarter as the government was slashing its outlays to reduce budget deficit, in contrast to an increase of 9.5 percent in the third quarter, said the department.
U.S. real GDP grew 2.2 percent for 2012 overall, better than the 1.8 percent growth rate in 2011 but slower than the 2.4 percent growth pace in 2010.