GDP slowing to a crawl

Confirming what consumers, retailers and manufacturers already have been feeling, the U.S. economy did slow considerably at the end of 2007, according to government data released March 27.

The gross domestic product grew only 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the Commerce Department. In the third quarter of 2007, GDP grew a much more robust 4.9%.

The GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced in the United States and is considered a strong measure of the nation’s economic strength.

According to the Associated Press, a number of economists believe that GDP in the first quarter of 2008 also will be weak. The Commerce Department will release an estimate of first–quarter GDP in late April.

“The economy just kept its head above water” in the fourth quarter, Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight told the AP. “We think that GDP will decline, albeit slightly, during the first half of 2008. The first half outlook is bleak.”

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