Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), issued the following statement about the fourth quarter GDP numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
"There was some good news in today's GDP report, with fourth quarter real GDP growth topping 3 percent (3.2 percent), and private GDP growth hitting 3.3 percent. Most of this was about growth in personal consumption.
"Other areas were mixed. Growth in fixed private investment was hardly strong, while equipment and software investment has decelerated for two straight quarters now. On trade, exports grew at a respectable rate, but a big decline in imports raises questions about the state of the domestic economy.
"Looking to 2011, one potential growth plus is a shift from a negative policy environment to a neutral policy climate, with perhaps a slight tilt to the positive depending on how Obama actually reacts to some initiatives pushed by Congress. Tax reform and certainty, a robust trade push and a curtailment in regulatory activity would be big plusses. Replenishing inventories also should give GDP a temporary boost. But various negatives persist, including continued questions and costs related to the phase in of the new health care and financial overhaul laws; Fed monetary policy that is far too loose; regulatory activism at the Environmental Protection Agency; and the fact that the tax measures extended last month remain temporary, due to expire at the end of 2012."