By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoneySeptember 27, 2012: 9:49 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
The U.S. economy grew even slower than initially reported in the second quarter, as both consumers and businesses spent less than originally thought, and the drought in the Midwest limited agricultural production.
The downward revision came as a surprise to economists who were largely expecting the figure to remain unchanged. It also marked slower growth than in the first three months of the year, when GDP accelerated at a 2% annual rate.
"The 1.3% increase in GDP was the weakest since the third quarter of last year and one of the weakest seen since the recovery began three years ago," said Chris Williamson, chief economist for Markit. "The weakening was evident across businesses and consumers."
The government typically revises its GDP reports twice, and Thursday's data marks the final revision to the second quarter figures.
The changes make little difference to the overall economic picture of the country. Growth is still frustratingly slow, and economists often say the economy needs to expand at least 3% a year to bring the unemployment rate down significantly.
The revisions were due to slower consumer spending on goods and services, as well as less investment in business structures, equipment and software. Trade also contributed less to GDP than last reported, as exports were weaker than originally thought.