The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster rate in the fourth quarter than previously estimated, boosted by stronger consumer spending. Consumers may be providing more lift to the economy in the current January-March period.

The Commerce Department says the economy grew at a modest 1.4 percent annual rate in the October-December period. That was better than the 1 percent growth rate estimated a month ago but still below the 2 percent growth turned in during the July-September quarter.

Most of the strength in the revision came from an upward boost to consumer spending, particularly involving recreation. Exports also were not as weak as previously thought.

Many economists think growth as measured by the gross domestic product is accelerating in the current quarter to a 2 percent annual rate.