U.S. economic growth was a little stronger that first thought in the last few months of 2016.

Thursday’s updated report from the Commerce Department says the economy grew at a 2.1 percent annual rate in October, November and December.  Growth was helped by stronger consumer spending.

PNC Bank economist Gus Faucher says the world’s largest economy is in “solid shape” and expects growth will be stronger this year than in 2016.

During the campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump promised to boost economic growth to four percent or better by cutting taxes and regulations, and boosting investment in roads and bridges.  Many private economists doubt this growth rate can be achieved.  Some argue that Trump’s stimulus efforts cannot overcome the economic drag from slow productivity growth and an aging workforce that is losing members to retirement.  

A separate report from the Labor Department said new unemployment claims declined by 3,000.

The data show that the total number of applications for unemployment (258,000) is still low enough to show a healthy labor market.  The number of jobless claims has been below 300,000 for more than two years, the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor force was smaller.  

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