WASHINGTON (AP) -- The final weeks of 2011 were the economy's strongest since it appeared to be slipping toward recession in late spring.
Consumers spent more freely, factories made more goods, Americans stepped up travel and the auto industry enjoyed its best stretch of the year.
That's the bright picture the Federal Reserve sketches in a survey released Wednesday. It says all but one of its 12 banking districts experienced some growth from late November through the end of the year.
The Fed does note that some sectors of the economy, notably housing, remain weak.