The final release for fourth-quarter U.S. GDP is out.
GDP rose 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, slightly below economists' estimates of a 0.5 percent advance. (The prior estimate released at the end of February predicted only 0.1 percent growth.)
Personal consumption growth came in at 1.8 percent, below economists' estimates of a 2.1 percent advance, which is also what the February reading predicted.
The 0.4 percent advance in the American economy in the fourth quarter is down from the 3.1 percent expansion in Q3.
Below is a summary of the data from the release:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "second" estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, real GDP increased 0.1 percent. While nonresidential fixed investment is higher than previously estimated, the revision to GDP has not changed the general picture of the economy (for more information, see "Revisions" on page 3).
The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, federal government spending, exports, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.
The deceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected downturns in private inventory investment, in federal government spending, in exports, and in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in nonresidential fixed investment, a larger decrease in imports, and an acceleration in PCE.
Motor vehicle output added 0.18 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after subtracting 0.25 percentage point from the third-quarter change. Final sales of computers added 0.10 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after adding 0.11 percentage point to the third-quarter change.
ORIGINAL: Heads up! We are minutes away from the first big data release of the day in the United States: the third and final estimate for U.S. GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, due out at 8:30 AM ET.
Economists expect the data to reveal that GDP grew 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter.
Economists predicted the same thing a month ago, when the second estimate for GDP was released, but the number fell short, coming in at 0.1 percent growth.
0.1 percent growth, however, was still better than the the ugly 0.1 percent contraction estimated by the initial reading in January.
Personal consumption growth in the fourth quarter is expected to be 2.1 percent, matching the second estimate from February.
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