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Today’s report shows that the economy posted its tenth straight quarter of positive growth, as real GDP (the total amount of goods and services produced in the country) grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year. For 2011 as a whole, GDP rose by 1.7 percent, raising the level of real GDP 0.7 percent above where it was at the start of the recession in the fourth quarter of 2007. While the continued expansion is encouraging, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the recent downturn and to reduce long-term unemployment.
Positive contributions to real GDP growth in the fourth quarter included consumer spending (1.5 percentage points) and fixed investment (0.4 percentage point). Overall government purchases fell (4.6 percent), with substantial declines in Federal defense spending (12.5 percent) and State and local spending (2.6 percent).
As President Obama has said, this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and those who are struggling to get into the middle class. That is why the President announced on Tuesday his Blueprint for an America Built to Last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.