Economists expect annual GDP growth will hit the government's 3 percent target this year, spurred in part by a weak dollar, rising oil prices and strengthening global economy.
Michael Pearce, senior USA economist at Capital Economics, said that the imports surge that widened the trade deficit reflected a pay-back from port disruptions caused by hurricanes in the third quarter.
Ms O'Carrol said the figures underline "the IMF's stark message earlier this week: the world economy is doing very nicely, the United Kingdom economy less so". Final sales to private domestic purchasers rose at a 2.2 per cent pace in the third quarter. Rising imports underscore the challenges that the Trump administration faces in its quest to boost annual GDP growth to 3 per cent as US consumers bought more imported goods. And 2.6 percent growth is respectable, if not much more than that.
Likewise, federal and state and local government spending increased 3.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, in this report, with government expenditures adding another 0.50 percentage points to top-line growth. But with low unemployment, modest inflation, a booming stock market and renewed strength around the globe, the US appears to be in a sustained pickup - for now.
Many economists expected the economy to maintain momentum this year, largely because of strong underlying growth but also due to a $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress late last year.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this month slashed the UK's growth outlook from 1.6 per cent to 1.5 per cent for 2019, the year it quits the EU.
The U.S. appears to have entered a stage of stronger economic growth, years into a historically modest expansion.
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Aberdeen Standard Investments chief economist Lucy O'Carroll said she is underwhelmed by the 2017 growth figures, which were the weakest in five years.
Some Trump allies are revising their expectations.
The 2018 first quarter GDP estimate will probably be affected by a statistical quirk.
Fourth-quarter GDP was dragged down mainly because the trade deficit widened, as imports rose at double the pace of exports. Those imports were driven by one-time issues as companies rushed some decisions and waited on others before the new law took affect, said Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
The services sector grew, though the statistics office noted it continued to show a longer-term weakening. The red columns show the economy under the Bush and Trump administration; the blue columns show the economy under the Obama administration.
The British economy grew at a faster rate than expected in the three months to the end of December.
Driving the fourth-quarter burst in output was a solid increase in spending by Americans and businesses, whose spirits have risen sharply in recent years.