The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the last three months of 2011, the Commerce Department announced in an advance estimate Friday. The new figures help quell lingering fears of a double-dip recession, but economists say there remains cause for concern.
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"At first glance, it looks good, because it's the 10th straight quarter of economic growth," Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told TPM. "But there's an awful lot to be concerned about when you dig into the numbers."
Stone noted that a large part of the gains came from businesses accumulating inventory -- but much of it wasn't sold. "So the excess capacity gap is not shrinking," he said. This, he argued, reflects that the trajectory of aggregate demand -- the more important indicator of economic strength -- remains problematic.