Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3% in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

In January, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated the measure of the economy's output of goods and services rose at a rate of 2.8% for the fourth quarter.

Analysts polled by Econoday projected GDP growth of 2.8% for the fourth quarter with a range of estimates between 2.6% and 3.1%.

GDP increased only 1.8% in the third quarter of 2011 and just 1.3% in the second quarter.

The government said fourth-quarter GDP growth is based on gains from inventory investment, personal consumption, exports and nonresidential fixed investment. 

Personal consumption in the fourth quarter increased 2.1% over the third quarter, while real nonresidential fixed investment grew at a rate of 2.8%.

On the residential side of the market, fixed investments grew 11.5%, compared to a 1.3% increase a month earlier.