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U.S. GDP Drops 3.8%
Jan 30, 2009
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Real gross domestic product - the output of goods and services produced by labor and property in the United States - decreased at an annual rate of 3.8% from the third quarter to the fourth quarter according to advance estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP decreased 0.5%.

These are “advance” estimates and could be revised when 4Q “preliminary” estimates, based on more comprehensive data, are released on Feb. 27, 2009.

BEA said the 4Q decrease primarily reflected negative contributions from exports, personal consumption expenditures, equipment and software, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by positive contributions from private inventory investment and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased. The largest contributing components were a downturn in exports and a much larger decrease in equipment and software. The most notable offset was a much larger decrease in imports.

Full-Year GDP
For all of 2008, real GDP increased 1.3% (from the 2007 annual level to the 2008 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.0% in 2007.

The major contributors to the increase in real GDP in 2008 were exports, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for services, federal government spending, nonresidential structures, and state and local government spending. These were partly offset by residential fixed investment, PCE for goods, equipment and software, and private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The deceleration in real GDP primarily reflected a sharp deceleration in PCE, a downturn in equipment and software, and decelerations in exports and in state and local government spending that were partly offset by a sharp downturn in imports, an acceleration in federal government spending, and a smaller decrease in private inventory investment.

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