The U.S. economy is growing, ever fitfully and disappointingly.
Since hitting its lows in 2009, the economy had been fitfully—and then steadily—improving.
used once by Shakespeare ("Macbeth," 1605) in sense of "characterized by fits," then revived by Scott (1810) with a sense of "shifting, changing." From fit (n.2) + -ful. Related: Fitfully; fitfulness.