By Josh Mitchell

The U.S. economy grew at a 6.9% annual rate in the final quarter of 2021 but recently lost momentum, with business activity undermined by pandemic-induced shortages of supplies and workers.

The Commerce Department on Thursday said U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services, accelerated in the fourth quarter from a 2.3% annual rate in the prior three-month period. That marked the sixth consecutive quarter of growth since the pandemic caused a short but severe recession in spring 2020.

Economists had estimated the agency would report that GDP expanded at a 5.5% annual rate in the fourth quarter, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.

Output grew strongly in the fall and early winter as last summer's Covid-19 Delta variant faded, schools and businesses more fully reopened, vaccinations rose and consumers spent down their high level of savings. Output grew largely because consumers spent steadily, exports grew and companies restocked shelves.

As a whole, 2021 marked the strongest economic rebound in decades. Output grew 5.5% in the fourth quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. That marked the biggest gain since 1984, when output rose 5.6%.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 27, 2022 09:04 ET (14:04 GMT)

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