Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

2 of 5
BACKNEXT
Economic Growth: Slumping
Gross domestic product - or GDP - is the broadest measure of the nation's economic growth and the government takes its pulse three times each quarter.

In the third quarter, GDP declined at an annual rate of 0.5%, according to the second reading for that period.

The economy took a huge hit from a pullback in consumer spending, which was down 3.7%, the biggest drop in 28 years. Spending by individuals, rather than businesses or the government, accounts for about 70% of the nation's economic activity.

Early readings on spending in October suggest that spending and the economy as a whole will be even weaker in the fourth quarter, hit by tight credit, rising job losses and low levels of consumer confidence.

NEXT: Jobs: Labor pains
Last updated December 08 2008: 12:48 PM ET
More Galleries
A White House press briefing as told by CNN's sketch artist The White House started banning cameras during some briefings, so CNN sent in sketch artist Bill Hennessy. More
The best gadgets for your next business trip Hotels often lack the resources business travelers need to work efficiently. But fear not: These six gadgets will turn any hotel room into a temporary office. More
Must-have gadgets for business travelers For many business travelers, commuting through airports and enduring flights is the worst part of any trip. Thankfully, these seven gadgets help make life on the road -- and in the air -- much easier. More

Special Offer