FedEx employees sorted through mounds of packages in December at one of the company's facilities in Miami. Consumer spending helped fuel the economy in the third quarter. Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate (a figure that adjusts for holiday spending to show the "real" growth). Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At a Ford plant in Michigan, workers load a battery into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle. The economy picked up speed in the third quarter. Economists caution, though, that it may slow in coming quarters. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Shoppers came out in the first quarter, pushing up economic growth. Robyn Beck /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Robyn Beck /AFP/Getty Images

The Future Orientation index shows a strong correlation between Internet activity and its gross domestic product. Countries in blue are deemed forward-looking. Suzy Moat and Tobias Preis hide caption

itoggle caption Suzy Moat and Tobias Preis