Consumer spending by households, which make up nearly three-quarters of the US economy, jumped 7.9%. They had fallen by 3.9% in 2020.
In 2020, the COVID crisis caused a 3.5% contraction in theGDP the United States, the largest drop since 1946.
Growth is stronger than expected by the US central bank (Fed) which anticipated a rebound of 5.5% in 2021 and by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which expected 5.6%.
In the fourth quarter alone, growth accelerated to 6.9% at an annualized rate, much more than expected by analysts, who saw it jump to 5.6%.
theGDP Q4 was also 3.1% higher than Q4 2019, the last before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States favors the growth of theGDP at an annualized rate, that is to say compared to the previous quarter while projecting the evolution of the last known quarter over the entire year. This gives an idea of the annual growth if the rate observed over these three months were maintained.
But other advanced economies, such as France, use the quarter-on-quarter comparison without annualizing it. Using this method of calculation, growth from October to December was 1.7%. And comparing the fourth quarter of 2021 to the fourth quarter of 2020, as China does for example, it amounted to 5.5%.
Growth had been strong at the start of last year, driven by massive stimulus packages that had boosted consumer spending, then by an ebb of the pandemic thanks to an active vaccination campaign in the spring. It then rebounded 6.4% in the first quarter, then 6.7% in the second.
Between April and June, the world’s largest economy had even returned to its pre-pandemic level. But growth then slowed to 2.3% in the third quarter, due to the appearance of the Delta variant.
Growth is expected to slow in the first quarter of 2022, weighed down by a new variant, Omicron, which has caused a wave of patients and contact cases, causing quarantines by the thousands every day and reducing economic activity.
As for consumer prices, they rose by 3.9% last year in the United States, the largest increase since 1990, with an acceleration in the last quarter (+6.5%), according to the PCE index. from the Department of Commerce, favored by the American central bank (Fed).
The other inflation index, that of the Department of Labor (PCI), published on January 12, had reported inflation of 7% in 2021, the largest increase since June 1982.