GDP Contracted at 6.3% Pace: Worst Quarter Since '82

by: Tim Iacono

The Commerce Department reported that the third and final reading for U.S. economic growth during the fourth quarter of 2008 resulted in a minor downward revision from a seasonally adjusted, annualized growth rate of minus 6.2 percent to minus 6.3 percent.
IMAGE This marks the worst quarter for the U.S. economy since early 1982 when the economy contracted at an annual pace of 6.4 percent during the second of two early-1980s recessions. The second quarter of 1980 saw a contraction at a 7.8 percent pace and the post-WWII record stands at -10.8 percent in early 1958.

For the year, the economy expanded 1.1 percent, the smallest advance since the 0.8 percent expansion in 2001 (note that the annual curve above is simply the annual rate based on the quarterly data).

Aside from the Federal Government, all sectors of the economy declined, paced by plunging consumer spending and tumbling corporate profits that fell at the fastest rates since 1980 and 1994, respectively. Business investment fell at a 22 percent rate and residential investment fell at a 23 percent pace.