PhotoBack in January, the government reported that the real gross domestic product (GDP) -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property in the United States -- declined a bit. But now, after recrunching the numbers, the Commerce Department reports the GDP increased -- a bit.

According to the second estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy grew 0.1%. The earlier estimate had it contracting 0.1%. The latest estimate is based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month.

A tiny change

The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP is smaller than the average revision from the advance to second estimate of 0.5 percentage point. While the direction of change in real GDP was reversed, the general picture of the economy for the fourth quarter remains largely the same as what was presented last month.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), or consumer spending; nonresidential fixed investment and residential fixed investment. These were were partly offset by declines in 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 slowdown 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.

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