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
Exploring 10 great cities for business in Asia From Shanghai to Tokyo, Mumbai to Hong Kong, here's how to make the most of the days between the deadlines. More
10 of the best beaches near airports Wait out your layover in the transit lounge? Or grab some sun, sand and surf? More
World's Top Employers for New Grads For an exclusive CNNMoney list, research firm Universum Global surveyed business students at colleges around the world to see where they most want to work. More

Special Offer