In its third and final estimate for Q4 2012, the Commerce Department announced [link opens a PDF] today that real GDP growth clocked in at an annual growth rate of 0.4%.  

This latest estimate is 0.3 percentage points above the Department's second estimate of 0.1%, but fell short of analysts' 0.6% expectations.

According to the government's press release, this newest revision "has not changed the general picture of the economy" despite upticks in personal spending (+1.8%) and residential/nonresidential fixed investment (+17.6% and +13.2%, respectively).

The main Q4 drags on economic growth were private inventory investment, federal government spending (-14.8%), exports (-2.8%), and state/local government spending (-1.5%). 

Although Q4's rate fell below Q3's 3.1% growth, real GDP growth for 2012 overall clocked in at 2.2%, compared with 1.8% in 2011. Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve released new GDP estimates last week that put GDP growth between 2.3% and 2.8% for 2013.


You can follow Justin Loiseau on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.