Stacey Vanek Smith: The U.S. GDP grew at a rate of 2.8 percent at the end of last year. Gross Domestic Product is a measure of all the goods and services the country produces; it’s considered to be the economic indicator.
Jill Schlessinger joins us now to help us talk about this. She’s editor-at-large for CBS/Moneywatch. Good morning, Jill.
Jill Schlessinger: Good morning.
Smith: So Jill, we just got word that GDP grew 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter -- good news? Bad news?
Schlessinger: Mezza mezza. It’s about the long term average growth for the economy, but it really is low for a recovery. Now the other part is, analysts had expected a growth of 3 percent. There were even some whispers, of, maybe just hopeful ones of: oh, it’ll be higher. So I think there’s a little bit of disappointment this morning actually.
Smith: Well Jill, what kind of growth would you have liked to see, and what would that look like on the ground in the economy?
Schlessinger: You know, if growth were above 3 percent -- and maybe even 3.5 percent -- for a few quarters in a row; some consistent growth, here’s what would happen: we’d see a general uptick in economic activity, maybe some more stores opening than closing, companies hiring. And really more importantly, confidence in both consumers and businesses.
Smith: What was holding us back last quarter?
Schlessinger: Well the big one appears to be business spending, on capital goods, that’s big stuff -- slowest since 2009. I think that has a lot to do with the European debt crisis so maybe if that gets resolved, it’ll tick up again in the first quarter.
Smith: Jill Schlessinger with CBS/Moneywatch. Thanks, Jill.
Schlessinger: Take care.