Higher demand for exports (+4.0%) contributed the most to the fourth-quarter growth in GDP.
Final domestic demand expanded as consumer spending increased 1.2%. In particular, purchases of durable goods grew 2.9%, far outpacing the third-quarter growth of 0.6%.
Businesses reduced inventories by $5 billion in the fourth quarter, after strong build-ups in the two previous quarters.
Business investment in plant and equipment expanded for the fourth consecutive quarter, while investment in housing fell for the second time in a row.
All major industrial sectors, with the exception of manufacturing, increased their output in the fourth quarter. Service-producing industries increased 0.9% while goods production increased 0.5%. The largest contributing sector was mining and oil and gas extraction. The public sector (education, health services and public administration combined), wholesale and retail trade, real estate and construction also contributed to the overall increase. Manufacturing declined following five consecutive quarterly increases.
Expressed at an annualized rate, real GDP in the fourth quarter grew 3.3%, after expanding 1.8% in the third quarter. By comparison, real GDP in the US grew 2.8% in the fourth quarter.
For the year 2010 as a whole, real GDP grew 3.1%, following a 2.5% decline in 2009.