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Durable goods manufacturing, construction, along with professional, scientific, and technical services, were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Sixteen of 22 industry groups contributed to an overall 2.9 percent increase in real GDP growth during the quarter.
Durable goods manufacturing increased 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter following a 7.5 percent increase in the third quarter. Fourth-quarter growth came from increases in motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts; computer and electronic products; and fabricated metal products.
Construction increased 8.5 percent, after decreasing 1.2 percent the previous quarter. This was the largest increase since the first quarter of 2016. Professional, scientific, and technical services increased 4.2 percent, after increasing 2.7 percent. The fourth-quarter growth primarily reflected an increase in miscellaneous professional, scientific, and technical services, which includes accounting and tax preparation services, and scientific research and development services.
For the year, real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2017, driven by the private goods- and services-producing sectors, as well as the government sector. Growth was widespread, with 20 of 22 industry groups contributing to the increase. Real estate and rental and leasing, health care and social assistance, and durable goods manufacturing were the leading contributors to the increase in real GDP.
Durable goods manufacturing increased 3.4 percent in 2017, after falling 0.2 percent a year earlier. This was the largest increase in durable goods manufacturing since 2011.