GDP Unexpectedly Contracts in the Fourth Quarter

Washington, DC, Jan. 30, 2013 -- Gross domestic product unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department.

Economists were looking for an increase of 1.1%, rather than a decline of 0.1%. It was the worst performance since the second quarter of 2009.

Economists estimated that Superstorm Sandy shave about 0.5% from what would have been a gain.

The report indicated that business investment and consumer spending were two of the brightest spots, and home building added to the reading for the first time since 2005.

Lower government spending and business cutbacks on inventory also contributed to the decline.