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U.S. GDP Up 2.2% in 2018 According to Third Estimate

Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.4%.

The GDP “third” estimate is based on more complete source data than were available for the "initial" estimate issued last month. In the initial estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.6%. With this estimate for the fourth quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; personal consumption expenditures, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment were revised down; imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were also revised down.

Real gross domestic income increased 1.7% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 4.6% in the third quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 1.9% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 4% in the third quarter.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Those were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter reflected decelerations in private inventory investment, PCE, and federal government spending and a downturn in state and local government spending. These movements were partly offset by an upturn in exports and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment. Imports increased less in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter.

Current dollar GDP increased 4.1%, or $206.9 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $20.87 trillion. In the third quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.9%, or $246.3 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8% in the third quarter. The PCE price index increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 1.6%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.8%, compared with an increase of 1.6%.

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