The US gross domestic product, the broadest target for the country's economy, grew at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter.
Although it is slower than the previous three months, it is faster than the same period of the year.
Some forecasts had been much lower. The Federal Reserve of Atlanta had expected growth of only 1.8%. Economists investigated by Thomson Reuters had expected growth as slow as 1.4%.
Some economists are concerned that braking economies elsewhere in the world, especially in China and Europe, will slow down US economic growth. The US economy is dependent on trade with these countries. The growing trade tensions between the US and some of the trading partners had several large US companies reporting slower foreign sales. New orders for many factories had slowed down at the end of last year.
But with unemployment close to 50 years low, consumer spending was strong. It helped support the overall growth.
The solid growth in the fourth quarter resulted in the economy's growth of 2.9% throughout the year. It is the best year of growth since 201