Economy Grew at 3.2% Rate in Q4 Consumer spending grew at fastest pace in 5 years By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jan 28, 2011 9:06 AM CST 7 comments Comments In this Dec. 18, 2010 file photo, shoppers are photographed on 34th Street, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Newser) – Spurred by consumer spending and a shrinking trade deficit, the economy grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter. That beats the previous quarter's 2.6% but falls short of analysts' expectations of 3.5%. Still, "a number above 3% should drive a stake through the heart of anyone who still thought that the economy was headed for a double-dip recession," said the chief strategist at Federated Investors. Fourth-quarter consumer spending grew at its fastest pace in almost 5 years, with an annual rate of 4.4%—nearly double the previous quarter’s figure, the New York Times reports.