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Third-quarter real gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 0.5%, according to a final estimate released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The final estimate is unchanged from an earlier estimate in November.
Fourth-quarter real GDP is also expected to fall, according to the Survey of Professional Forecasters report released last month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It estimates a fourth-quarter decline in real GDP of 2.9%, and another decline of 1.1% in the first quarter of 2009.
The National Bureau of Economic Research announced Dec. 1 that the U.S. had entered a recession after the economy peaked in December 2007. A traditional definition of a recession calls for two consecutive quarters of contraction in real GDP, but the bureau said its definition of a recession is a period of "diminishing" activity.
The third-quarter decline of 0.5% in GDP followed a second-quarter rise in GDP of 2.8%, according to the Department of Commerce.