The U.S. economy grew 2.2% in the final three months of 2014, unchanged from the government's prior estimate and less than half the 5% pace in the third quarter. Exports and consumer spending, especially on health care, were revised to show a stronger increase, but that was offset by a reduction in how much companies spent to build up inventories, the Commerce Department said Friday. Consumer spending was raised to 4.4% in the fourth quarter from 4.2%, marking the largest increase since 2006. Exports also rose 4.5% instead of 3.2%. Yet the value of inventories was lowered to $80 billion from $88.4 billion, mainly reflecting smaller stocks of oil and gas among U.S. energy producers hampered by a global plunge in petroleum prices. The rest of the figures in the second revision of the fourth-quarter report were little changed. For all of 2014, U.S. gross domestic product grew at a revised 2.4% rate, compared to 2.2% GDP in 2013 and 2.3% in 2012.
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