Feb. 28, 2005 -- The U.S. economy grew at an unexpectedly rapid clip at the end of last year as the good news on the state of the economy continues to roll in.

The Commerce Department announced that the nation's gross domestic product grew 3.8% over the last three months of 2004 -- a much stronger pace than the 3.1% the department had announced a month ago. The department said that GDP grew 4.4% overall in 2004 - a full percentage point faster than in 2003 and the best result since 1999.

Economists credited the strong results to increased spending by businesses on capital equipment and the restocking of inventories.

"All told, the economy seems to have entered 2005 expanding at a reasonably good pace, with inflation and inflation expectations well anchored," said Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Most economists are predicting that the economy should grow another 4% over the first quarter of 2005.