The 5.7 percent annual growth rate registered by the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter of 2009 was the fastest seen since 2003 and the most clear-cut evidence yet that the worst recession since the 1930s may have ended last year.
However, economists think that growth can´t be sustained, as it was mostly fueled by businesses spending on replenishing depleted inventories and on equipment and software. Consumers haven´t started spending at pre-recession levels yet.
The economy registered growth in its last two quarters after a history-making four consecutive quarters of decline between late 2008 and early 2009. Still, the expansion is expected to be too slow to reduce unemployment significantly this year.