Economy grew slower in the fourth quarter than previously thought

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Gross domestic product, a broad measure of the goods and services produced in the U.S., expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in October through December, the government said Thursday. That was less than the 2.6 percent growth reported in the prior estimate published in February.

The downward revision was in line with expectations. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.4 percent.

The estimate was pushed lower by downward revisions of estimates of spending by consumers, state and local government,s and businesses. In a welcome development for the Trump administration, foreign trade was revised to show a smaller drag from net imports

The economy grew at 3.0 percent last year, when measured by comparing its output in the fourth quarter of 2018 versus the fourth quarter of 2017. The Federal Reserve and most business economists prefer to use that measure. The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different measure, which looks at total output for 2018 compared to total output for 2017. By this measure, the economy grew 2.9 percent in 2018.
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