WASHINGTON (AP) - The Commerce Department is set to release a
report Friday that's expected to show the economy shrank at a pace
of 5.4 percent in the October-December period. That's a much faster
descent than the 0.5 percent decline logged in the prior quarter.
If the forecasts are correct, it would be the weakest quarterly
showing in 27 years when the country was in a severe recession.
Economist Richard Yamarone says the fourth-quarter was a
A massive pullback by consumers is expected to play a prominent
role in the economy's worsening backslide. They're cutting back on
spending as jobs disappear and major investments -- homes, stocks,
retirement accounts -- tank in value.
Businesses are retrenching, too, as profits shrivel and demand
wanes from customers in the U.S. and overseas.