Consumer spending on goods and services expanded 0.7% in the fourth quarter, up from the 0.4% gain in the previous quarter. Purchases of durable goods grew 2.1%, up from a 0.2% decline.
Business investment in plant and equipment advanced 2.0%, the eighth consecutive quarterly increase. Housing investment slowed to 0.8% in the fourth quarter, well below the 2.5% increase in the previous quarter.
Exports advanced 1.1% in the fourth quarter, down from a 3.8% gain in the third quarter. Imports rose 0.5%, after falling 0.4%.
Both goods-producing (+0.5%) and services (+0.4%) industries grew in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing, retail trade, and oil and gas extraction were the main contributors to the growth. Gains also occurred in professional, scientific and technical services, the public sector (education, health services and public administration combined) and construction. Mining excluding oil and gas extraction, utilities, wholesale trade, and the finance and insurance sector decreased during the quarter.
Manufacturing increased 1.5%, mostly on higher production of transportation equipment and machinery. There were widespread gains in retail trade (+1.4%), while wholesale trade declined 0.6%. Oil and gas extraction rose 0.9% in the fourth quarter, largely on increased natural gas production, as oil extraction was limited by maintenance activities during the quarter. Construction edged up 0.2% as declines in non-residential building construction partially offset the strength in engineering and repair works. Mining excluding oil and gas extraction decreased 3.8%, mainly because of a decline in output at potash mines as a result of lower foreign demand for fertilizer. Utilities declined 1.6% as unseasonably warm weather contributed to lower demand for electricity.