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Now Economists Await Fourth-Quarter 2001 GDP Numbers

By John S. McClenahen On Jan. 30, 2002, the U.S. Commerce Department is scheduled to release its "advance" look at fourth-quarter 2001 GDP. The big question between now and then will be just how much did the U.S. economy contract in the final three months of 2001? Current estimates are for about 1% on an inflation-adjusted basis. But those projections could prove to be low, if the final figure for the third-quarter of 2001 is any guide. On Dec. 21, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 1.3% in the third quarter, a bit above both the expected 1% rate and Commerce's 1.1% November preliminary estimate. The last time U.S. GDP grew was in 2001's second quarter, when it advanced at a 0.3% annual rate.

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