U.S. GDP Growth Slows in Fourth Quarter

Economic growth in the U.S. economy slowed as expected in the fourth quarter.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday that gross domestic product registered a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 2.6% growth in the final three months of 2018, in line with expectations and down from a rate of 3.4% in the third quarter.

Looking forward, economists widely anticipate economic growth to slow further in 2019 due to the fading effects of fiscal stimulus, tighter monetary policy, political gridlock and uncertainty surrounding global trade policy.

American consumers could come to the rescue of the American economy if the labor market continues to create jobs and wages increase. A report from the Conference Board released Tuesday showed that consumer confidence and expectations both rebounded in February following the government shutdown that ended on Jan. 25.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also presented a relatively upbeat view of the American economy on Tuesday, although he noted several potential headwinds.

“While we view current economic conditions as healthy and the economic outlook as favorable, over the past few months we have seen some cross-currents and conflicting signals,” he said.

He pointed to recent financial market volatility and the global economic slowdown, particularly in China and Europe.

“And uncertainty is elevated around several unresolved government policy issues, including Brexit and ongoing trade negotiations,” he added to the list of risks the Fed will monitor going forward.