Strong growth in Q4 likely to slow throughout 2010


AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON - Don't count on the economic growth spurt at the end of 2009 to carry into this year.

The economy grew at a blistering 5.7 percent pace in the final quarter of last year, according to a preliminary government estimate. And an updated estimate due out Friday is expected to produce the same figure, according to Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Roughly two-thirds of last quarter's growth came from a burst of manufacturing - but not because consumer demand was especially strong.

Rather, factories were churning out goods for businesses that had let their stockpiles dwindle to save cash. If consumer spending remains lackluster as expected, that burst of manufacturing - and its contribution to economic activity - will fade.