*The U.S. economy grew at an accelerated pace in the last quarter of 2009, driven largely by a rebound in manufacturing and better-than-expected gains in consumer spending and commercial investments, according to Commerce Department statistics released today.

The nation’s gross domestic product — or total goods and services produced in the U.S. — expanded at a robust 5.7 % annual rate in the fourth quarter.
That’s more than double the 2.2% growth in the third quarter and a dramatic turnaround from the first three months of 2009, when the economy shrank by 6.4%.

The latest GDP growth rate was about a percentage point higher than most economists’ forecasts, with consumer spending and an upturn in commercial investments contributing more than what was expected. These are encouraging signs and could prompt analysts to raise their growth forecasts for this year.

Read MORE of this LA Times report, HERE.