Real gross domestic product - the output of goods and services produced by labor and property in the U.S. - decreased at an annual rate of 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, (from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to final estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP decreased 0.5 percent.
These GDP estimates are based on more complete source data than were available for the preliminary estimates issued last month. In the preliminary estimates, the decrease in real GDP was 6.2 percent.
The decrease in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from exports, personal consumption expenditures, equipment and software, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a positive contribution from federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.
Most of the major components contributed to the much larger decrease in real GDP in the fourth quarter than in the third. The largest contributors were a downturn in exports and a much larger decrease in equipment and software. The most notable offset was a much larger decrease in imports.