PhotoThere was a considerable slowdown in the growth of the nation's economy last year.

The Commerce Department reports real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.6% in 2016 after growing 2.6% the year before.

The deceleration in growth reflected a downturn in private inventory investment, a slowdown in consumer spending (PCE), a downturn in nonresidential fixed investment, and decelerations in residential fixed investment and in state and local government spending.

Those were offset by a slowdown in imports and speedups in federal government spending and exports.

Fourth quarter results

GDP in 2016's fourth quarter grew at a 1.9% annual clip following a third-quarter surge of 3.5%. It's worth keeping in mind that a "second" estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released in late February. That second estimate may affect the 2016 GDP figure as well.

The slowdown in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected a downturn in exports, an acceleration in imports, a deceleration in PCE, and a downturn in federal government spending, all of which were partly offset by an upturn in residential fixed investment, an acceleration in private inventory investment, an upturn in state and local government spending, and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment.

The PCE price index increased 2.2% in the fourth quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the “core” PCE price index was up 1.3%.

The complete report may be found on the Commerce Department website.


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