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Economy bolts forward 5.7 percent in fourth quarter

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The economy grew for a second straight quarter from October through December, posting a better-than-expected 5.7 percent annual rate, the fastest quarterly pace since 2003.

The Commerce Department report is the strongest evidence to date that the worst recession since the 1930s ended last year, though an academic panel that dates recessions has yet to officially declare an end to it.

The two straight quarters of growth followed a record four quarters of decline. Still, the expansion in the fourth quarter was fueled by companies refilling depleted stockpiles, a trend that will eventually fade.

Growth exceeded expectations mainly because business spending on equipment and software jumped 13.3 percent — much more than forecast.

The report provided an upbeat end to an otherwise dismal year: The nation's economy declined 2.4 percent in 2009, the largest drop since 1946.

Still, economists expect growth to slow this year as companies finish restocking inventories and as government stimulus efforts fade. Many estimate the nation's gross domestic product will slow to a 3 percent rate in the current quarter and to about 2.5 percent for 2010.

About 60 percent of the fourth quarter's growth resulted from a sharp slowdown in the reduction of inventories as firms began to rebuild stockpiles depleted by the recession.

Excluding inventory changes, the economy would have grown at a 2.2 percent clip, the government said. That's an improvement from 1.5 percent in the third quarter.

Besides business spending on equipment and software, also powering growth in the October-December period was consumer spending, which rose 2 percent.

A steep increase in exports also helped boost growth. The shipment of goods overseas rose 18.1 percent, far outpacing a 10.5 percent rise in imports.

Government spending was actually a slight drag on growth in the fourth quarter: A small increase in federal spending was outweighed by a drop in state and local spending.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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