Final 4Q GDP -6.3%, Worst Report In 26 Years

Final 4Q2008 GDP came in today at -6.3%. This is the slowest quarterly pace of economic growth since 1982, back when average unemployment was 9.7% (vs. 8.1% as of February) and Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released—and went on to become the biggest selling album in history.

As of December 23, 2008, -0.5% GDP was the largest quarterly decline since the tail end of the last recession in 2001. Six days after that release, the NBER declared a recession has been in effect since December 2007. They took pains to counter the popular definition of recession as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, saying that they look at many factors in addition to GDP. GDP growth is now officially negative for two consecutive quarters, the last five quarters of final GDP are below and here is the GDP press release.

4Q2007: -0.2% (final)
1Q2008: +0.9% (final)
2Q2008: +2.8% (final)
3Q2008: -0.5% (final)
4Q2008: -6.3 (final)