WASHINGTON - The economy nearly sputtered out at the end of the year and is probably faring even worse now amid continuing housing, credit and financial crises.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product increased at a feeble 0.6 percent annual rate in the October-to-December quarter. The reading — unchanged from a previous estimate a month ago — provided stark evidence of just how much the economy has weakened. In the prior quarter, the economy clocked in at a sizzling 4.9 percent growth rate.
The gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of all goods and services produced in the United States and is the best barometer of the country's economic health.
Many economists say they believe growth in the current January-to-March quarter will be even weaker than the 0.6 percent figure of the previous quarter.
By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
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