The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, down from 3.4 percent in the previous quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday.
The deceleration in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the fourth quarter reflected decelerations in private inventory investment, personal consumption expenditures, and federal government spending and a downturn in state and local government spending, partly offset by an upturn in exports and an acceleration in non-residential fixed investment, the report said. Imports increased less in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter.
Real GDP expanded at a 2.9 percent pace in 2018, slightly down from the Federal Reserve's estimation of 3 percent in December. The Fed is currently predicting 2.3 percent growth for 2019.
A majority of U.S. economists believe the country will fall into a recession no later than in 2021, according to a survey report released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).
The report showed about 10 percent of the experts surveyed expect an economic recession in the United States this year, 42 percent expect one in 2020, and 25 percent think a downturn will hit in 2021. That means roughly three fourths of them believe a recession will take place by the end of 2021.