WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman-designate of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the announcement that GDP increased 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 (see chart here):
"Today’s GDP number shows that the recovery which began in the third quarter of 2009 is continuing. Increases in net exports and consumer spending helped to boost growth in the fourth quarter. For all of 2010, GDP grew at 2.9 percent, compared to a decrease of 2.6 percent in 2009.
“The economy has now experienced six consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth. It’s clear that we’ve come a long way in the past 18 months and the economy is on much sounder footing than it was in mid-2009.”
Highlights from the quarter include:
- Personal consumption increased 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter, up from a 2.4 percent increase in the third quarter.
- Exports of goods and services grew 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to a 6.8 percent increase in the third quarter.
- Real imports of goods and services decreased by 13.6 percent in the quarter, after increasing by 16.8 percent in the third quarter.
“But even with this progress, the labor market has been slow to recover. The national unemployment rate in December was 9.4 percent and almost 14.5 million Americans, including more than half a million in Pennsylvania, remain out of work.
“We need to foster job creation and help people build new skills and get back to work. Investments in workers, our children and the nation’s infrastructure are vital to our future and long-term economic health. With the fiscal challenges facing the country, it’s imperative that these investments be cost-effective, delivering significant returns.
“The growth in GDP can be linked to an increase in exports of American-made products and an increase in Americans buying American-made products. As Chair of the JEC, I will focus on examining policies that will continue to promote American manufacturing.
"Our economy is getting stronger, but Congress must stay focused on creating jobs and ensuring that the growth continues in the coming quarters and beyond.”