WASHINGTON - The economy was lethargic in the final quarter of 2005, but fresher readings suggest a rebound since then.
Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of just 1.7 percent in the October-to-December quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. It was the most sluggish showing in three years but still a tad better than the 1.6 percent estimated a month ago.
The slight upgrade reflected stronger inventory building by businesses than previously thought.
Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital, summed up the fourthquarter performance as ‘‘pretty dismal,’’ but he added: ‘‘Of course we, along with everyone else, look for a snapback’’ in the current Januaryto-March quarter.
The Federal Reserve is of the same mind.
Private analysts predict growth during this period will clock in at a brisk pace of 4.5 percent or higher, to be followed by a period of moderation, a 3.4 percent pace, in the April-to-June quarter.