The US economy expanded more than previously thought in the fourth quarter 2002, new figures from the Commerce Department show.

GDP growth for Q4 is now estimated at an annual rate of 1.4%, double the 0.7% of earlier reports. The revision was attributed to higher inventory-building by businesses and better consumer spending than previously thought.

However, the news did little to cheer economists. Even at 1.4%, Q4 growth was well down on the third quarter’s 4% growth, while continued uncertainty over conflict in the Middle East is holding back expansion in the present quarter.

A separate report from the University of Michigan confirms the challenges currently facing the US economy. The University’s index of consumer confidence slipped from 82.4 in January to 79.9 last month, as the barometer gauging future expectations sank from 72.8 to 69.9 and the component for current conditions slid from 97.2 to 95.4.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff