US economic growth slows to 3.2% in fourth quarter, down from previous quarter's 4.9%


WASHINGTON (AP) —  U.S. economic growth slowed to a 3.2% annual pace from October through December, down from 4.9% from July through September, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday in a downgrade from its initial estimate.

The fourth-quarter GDP numbers were revised down from the 3.3% pace Commerce initially reported last month. U.S. growth has now topped 2% for six straight quarters.

The economy grew 2.5% for all of 2023, topping the 1.9% growth in 2022.

Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity, grew at a 3% annual pace from October through December. Spending by state and local governments rose at a 5.4% annual rate from October through December, the fastest pace since 2019.

Wednesday’s report also showed inflation pressures remained steady. So-called core inflation was up 2.1%, accelerating slightly from a 2% increase in the third quarter.

Voters are weighing the economy's health in advance of November's presidential election. Many Americans are exasperated with high prices and blame President Joe Biden. Consumer prices are 17% higher than they were three years ago.

In response to resurgent inflation, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate 11 times between March 2022 and July 2023, taking it to the highest level in more than two decades.

Wednesday’s report was the second of three Commerce Department estimates of fourth-quarter GDP growth. The final revision comes out March 28.