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The US economy had its best year since 2010 last year, outpacing all of the other major developed countries as consumer confidence picked up, helped by sinking oil prices. While the halving of fuel prices clearly gave American consumers the power to spend more at the end of the year, businesses slowed investment and the government cut back on spending, especially for defense, dragging down momentum. The Commerce Department reported Friday that US gross domestic product grew at an annual 2.4 percent pace last year, up from 2.2 percent in 2013, as the United States distanced itself from the sagging economies of Europe and Japan. The firming recovery from the devastating Great Recession of 2008-2009 was marked by improved consumer confidence, the best year of job creation since 1999, and a surge in business profits.