GDP growth below expectations in fourth quarter of 2017

GDP growth below expectations in fourth quarter of 2017
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Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, the Commerce Department announced Friday.

The growth rate was below economists' projections of about 3 percent.

Had GDP increased by at least 3 percent in the fourth quarter, it would have been the first time since George W. Bush's administration that GDP grew by 3 percent in three consecutive quarters.

The Commerce Department said the GDP increase was due to increases in personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential and residential fixed investment, exports and spending by state and local governments and the federal government.

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The growth rate's deceleration relates to a downturn in private inventory investment. Additionally, imports, which are subtracted in GDP, increased, the Commerce Department said.

Overall, GDP increased by 2.3 percent in 2017, up from a 1.5 percent increase in 2016.

Friday's numbers represent the Commerce Department's first of three estimates for fourth-quarter GDP. The department will release another estimate based on more complete data on Feb. 28.

Updated at 9:10 a.m.