WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy contracted at a staggering 6.2 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as consumers and businesses ratcheted back spending, plunging the country deeper into recession.Meanwhile Greg Mankiw thinks the Obama administration's forecasts are a bit too rosy. The Obama forecasts are on the left (no pun intended):
The Commerce Department report released Friday showed the economy sinking much faster than the 3.8 percent annualized drop for the October-December quarter first estimated last month. It also was considerably weaker than the 5.4 percent annualized decline economists expected.
A much sharper cutback in consumer spending - which accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity - along with a bigger drop in U.S. exports sales, and reductions in business spending and inventories all contributed to the largest revision on records dating to 1976.
Looking ahead, economists predict consumers and businesses will keep cutting back spending, making the first six months of this year especially rocky.
2009: -1.2% -1.9%As the eminent American philosopher Yogi Berra says: "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."
2010: +3.2% +2.1%
2011: +4.0% +2.9%
2012: +4.6% +2.9%
2013: +4.2% +2.8%
Accumulating the difference, you find that Team Obama projects about 6 percent higher GDP in 2013 than do private forecasters.