The US economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter last year. It’s the country’s first decline since a recession ended more than three years ago.
The fall comes as businesses scaled back on restocking and government spending plunged. Gross domestic product fell by a 0.1 percent annual rate. It is the worst performance since the second quarter of 2009.
Economists had expected GDP to rise at a rate of 1.1 percent and none predicted a contraction. For the whole of 2012, the economy grew 2.2 percent, and a report on Friday is expected to show that the jobless rate held at 7.8 percent for a third straight month in January.
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