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US economy grew faster at end of 2011 than first thought

Official figures show Americans earned more than previously reported – which could set stage for stronger growth

The US economy grew at a slightly faster pace in the final three months of last year, and Americans earned more income than previously reported. That could set the stage for stronger growth this year.

The commerce department says the economy expanded at a 3% annual rate in the October-December quarter the fastest pace since the spring of 2010. It exceeded the previous estimate of 2.8%. And it was better than the third quarter’s 1.8% growth rate.

The growth estimate was revised up because consumers spent more than first thought, and businesses cut spending by much less. Imports rose by a smaller amount.

The report also showed that incomes rose in the second half of last year by more than previously estimated. Americans saved more, too.

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