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
Brexit voices: In or out? CNNMoney speaks to British people to find out their views ahead of the referendum on EU membership. More
10 key facts about the U.S. economy Unemployment is down, gas is cheap and America is growing. But just how strong is it? More
10 best investing apps (and sites) Investing should be cheap, effective and easy. These products simplify your financial life. More

Special Offer