The US economy grew at an annualized rate of just 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, down from 3.5 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the previous quarter.

Full-year growth came in at 1.6 per cent, the slowest pace of expansion since 2011 and down from 2.6 per cent growth in 2015, the Commerce Department said on Friday, Efe news reported.

The quarterly growth estimate was the first of three, the Commerce Department will release.

The economy was boosted in the fourth quarter by household spending, although a larger-than-expected trade deficit was a drag on growth.

Economists had forecast 2.2 per cent growth in the fourth quarter.

Newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump has pledged a return to growth rates of between 3 per cent and 4 per cent under his administration, a goal he says can be achieved by lowering tax rates and easing regulations.