U.S. economy contracts for first time since recession
January 30th, 2013
11:00 AM ET

U.S. economy contracts for first time since recession

Uncle Sam cut spending and businesses drew down inventories in the fourth quarter of 2012, causing the U.S. economy to contract for the first time in more than three years.

But don't start throwing around the R-word just yet.

"No one I know would seriously call this an indicator of recession," said Bill Hampel, chief economist with the Credit Union National Association.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic growth, contracted at an annual rate of 0.1% from October to December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the first quarterly contraction since the second quarter of 2009, amid the Great Recession.

Full story

Topics: Economy

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. acdcguy

    And what's being done about it? NOTHING..... flying around campaigning and trying to take our guns away have much more priority........

    January 30, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • sara

      yea, take your complaints up with your congressman who is blocking every bill pertaining to jobs, cutting government jobs and NOT even talking about jobs....why? They are willing to Tank the Economy for the sake of a dying party. The American people, ah, the ones who voted overwhelming for the President, has Known the Teapublicans agenda for a long time now....Where have you been?

      February 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      • Michael

        Overwhelming voted for the president? Since when is 51% overwhelming?

        February 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  2. sue

    the president seems to know what he was doing after all. Housing and the stock market both making a come back something mittens would have taken credit for if he had been elected.

    January 30, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • sara

      The Congress will continue to do nothing but Tank our economy, leaving all of us out to dry for the sake of a dying party.....We've seem this play before. Yes, it's working and that's why they're mad. So much for their "love" of country and "the people"......Progressives, we need to take our House back from the maggots and the roaches.

      February 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • cuisinemanager

      The federal reserve is pumping $45 Billion a month into the housing market, which is artificially inflating house prices, running the stock market up higher than it should be. Do you small another recession or crash coming down the road.
      That $45 B from the fed is causing inflation, higher debt, higher deficit and is simply not good for the economy. Before any person signs their name up for the democratic party they need to take an econ 101 course and not from Harvard.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • sara

        lol...even the Tea Party darling Cruz is from Harvard and so are the majority of the republican party....they fooled yourarse into thinking only Dems go to Ivy League schools....now the difference in how their frontal brains works is that the Repbublicans drives the country into a depression every time...and then scream about spending...and deficits when Dems take office, to run "game' on stupid people who will vote for them again......The Republican party is a small party for small minded people......And the world continues to move and change.

        February 1, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • steveo

      Are you crediting the president for the comeback? Presidents get credit when things work out an blame when things don't. That "mittens" remarks is so November! Friday is February!

      January 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  3. Moose

    Proof our leadership is inept, why not work on the economy instead of playing madonna ???

    January 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • TommytheT

      Mainly because they have no clue or we are just seeing proof again that the Govt can not grow the economy. Only the Private sector can.

      January 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • sara

        Must have gotten your economics from Hannity and your Math from Mitt..

        February 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  4. cuisinemanager

    Lets see, can we blame Bush for this, sorry but the statute of limitation has run out on that, can we blame Europe, not not now, they are holding their own, can we blame the rich, nope we taxed them more, so who can we blame. The Chinese, nope they have their own problems, can we blame the republicans, that still works but the veil is getting thin and people are beginning to see through that lie.
    Maybe........just maybe it is time to examine the economic policies that have been put in place for the last 4 yrs. Also the reason we have no budget is that all the spending would be out there for everyone to see and that would be unacceptable to all Americans regardless of party affiliation.

    January 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Realist489

      How bout we blame the actual reason. Defense spending dropped 22% compared to last year. Consumer Spending (the largest part of the economy) went up 2.2% last quarter. You can't have it both ways. Demanding cuts, and then when they are cut complain that the economy takes a hit because of it.

      January 30, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • TommytheT

      certainly indications over the last 4 years and 1 month are strongly indicating what history as proven...our economy will not get healthy until we unleash the power that is the private enterprise. But of course Mr Obama's supporters will put their head in the sand and make one excuse after another instead of finally admitting that a large bloated over spending govt is the death of our economy not the engine that makes it go.

      January 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • DEcember 2012

        Feel free to unleash. It's a free country, no? It seems to me the blame game is only coming from so-called conservatives.

        If the Republicans want to have budget cuts, they should do so. By all means, give up the spending to your home states and districts. Give up all those defense contracts, tell your senior constituents you are cutting their Medicare and Social Security. It seems so easy right? If it were so easy, both sides wouldn't drag their feet so much.

        These things take time and there will be budget battles ahead. The best thing private enterprises should do is be enterprising.

        January 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • steveo

        According to Sen. Mary Landrieu, there is NO spending problem. Anytime you borrow 40% of what you spend, you have a spending problem. Don't believe me? Try that at home and see how long you last!

        January 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      Oh gee, is the sky falling again?

      Falsely accusing anyone of blame would only be true if there is something we are actually have something to blame on anyone. As the story pretty much explained the reasons for the decline, why bother?

      I think most reasonable people do not see the sky falling yet. Your blame game is a tad premature.

      January 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • hanle

      Statute of limitations on Bush? Are you serious? Don't you realize the hole he put is in? Not to mention 911 happening on his watch and going to war over weapons that did not exist. 2009 deficit as % of gross domestic product under bush was MINUS 9 Billion, under Obama it has shrunk to minus 4 billion.. despite the constant bickering by republicans.

      January 31, 2013 at 7:41 am |
  5. California Consevative

    I blame the blamer in charge. The buck stops there.

    January 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  6. OBAMA MUST GO!!!!!!!!

    Obama is a Jack Ass.

    January 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • sara

      .....and your daddy?????

      February 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  7. Caramon

    I know I am going to hate myself for saying this. One quarter does not lead to a trashed economy. But I am certain we will be hearing about over the next couple of weeks. If you look at the chart, the fourth quarter always shows a significant drop from the third quarter. I think we should wait and see before making conclusions.

    January 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Donnie

      Are we reading the same chart? The 4th quarter on that chart is showing strong growth except this year.

      January 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Not As Think As You Drunk I Am

      WOW that is not what the chart shows at all – I would explain it but after that comment I seriously doubt you would understand so instead I would like to say – heres your sign

      January 31, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  8. T

    ..............Obama spends...................................................Teatards SCREAM...............
    ..............Obama CUTS spending.....................................Teatards SCREAM...............
    ....I am seeing a pattern....................

    January 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  9. jerry

    meanwhile obama flys to Vegas for a speech on reform at the cost of $1,600,000.00. That is a lot of money...for nothing! We ARE heading into a recession as defense layoffs and higher taxes take over....thanks obama!

    January 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • sara

      Isn't that what THE president does? lol. Get over it?

      February 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  10. skinmansd

    Can we blame Bush for this?

    this soon to be a new recession is due partly to the reduction in military spending that 0bama demanded. The other spending reductions are due to businesses having no faith in this administration to set business/job friendly policies.

    I'm selling all my stocks at the opening bell.

    January 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  11. Dan B

    I think that we are in a recovery, a VERY slow one, but it is coming. If you look at history though, after a recession is a time of growth, and the bigger the recession the more growth- something wevaren't seeing.

    January 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  12. larrysucks

    The Obama administration is doing everything it can think of to kill off economic growth. That the economy survives at all is a testament to the resilience of the American people. Hey, I've got an idea, why don't we elect a President with some experience actually building something up instead of these bozos who only know how to tear things apart.

    January 30, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  13. FedUpInSeattle

    It must be nice for the Liberals to have the MSM to spin the news. When the economy is bad under a GOP president it’s the President when the Economy is bad under a DEM president is the GOP House. Let remember, the Dems hold the Pres. and the Senate. Also reading these posts by my friends on the Left you would think these MEAGER flat line gains in the market, housing or otherwise were some proof positive of Obama's success. Let’s face it folks, if these economic numbers were McCains, the DEMS would be spinning the 24 hour news cycle on how terrible the economy was and lambasting all those who voted for McCain as proof that electing another GOP was the reason our economy is so bad now. BUT NO the facts fall on deaf ears. Obama is someone one with style, class and the ability to win over just enough people with his Celebrity personality that to the Left the economy is marvelous. When you finally debate a Liberal into facing the facts with economic numbers, they say "well it’s because of the DO NOTHING GOP" How nice to have your cake and eat it too. Or in Liberal terms “how nice for you for me to have bought cake and for you to take a piece of mine” As lastly as someone who voted for Clinton; he would have fixed this mess by now, without needing the Left and MSM to convince us things are great, when they ARE NOT!

    January 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  14. John

    I guess the Libs have not heard the official talking points yet so they are clueless on what to say...

    January 31, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • December 2012

      And you got yours by the bushel from conservative media. No surprise there.

      February 1, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  15. Cynthia L.

    I say it's time we put jobs and infrastruture together in a win for everybody. I know you just love driving over decrepted bridges on your way to work everyday. But, seriously, the amount of companies and employees needed to upgrade our aging electrical grid, repair roads, upgrade bridges, ports, airports etc. are out there ready to answer the call. PUT PEOPLE TO WORK ON THE THINGS WE NEED!!! – A BIG DUH.

    January 31, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  16. mgrgurich

    Cuts have consequences. The Economy IS SPENDING. reduce spending regardless of whether it is government or private spending and the economy shrinks. No surprise here.

    January 31, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • DEcember 2012

      The government can also borrow the money at the fantastic low rates they are in now. Spending on the right things for economic growth is what we need now. Same thing with jobs. GDP shrank partly due to these issues.

      January 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • DEcember 2012

        I am all for eliminating waste and that should be the focus for any kind of cuts for the immediate future. Borrowing money is not the only option but it is the easier option to get a lot of funding with probably the least amount of political contention. Arguing over cuts can take a long time but I believe we should do both if possible.

        February 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • jean2009

        I too am for eliminating waste..but in some cases money well spent could have kept us ahead of the rest of the world...case in point algae fuel research. I heard from Howard and jerry a lot of the GOP talking points that it would never work, would take a decade ormore to do, was to costly....but hello German Audi announces this morning, they will have a car on the market using algae fuel and will be producing the fuel (mod-er-ator block the common term) for said vehicle ...does anyone know that Ohio farm ponds are one ot the best sources of that particular type of algae? They will roll out at car in May and have the biodeisel available most places by 2016

        February 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • Caramon

        Jean, a small question. What is the name of the company supplying the biofuel produced from Algae for Audi?

        February 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • Caramon

        The question is whether borrowing more money is the only option. I would think that each representative and the President should get together and find the waste in government. We were promised this in 2008. Eliminate the expensive departmental vacations and meetings, make representatives buy their own water, eliminate duplicate programs and throw out earmarks that are unnecessary. This will never happen when the government can simply borrow more money. You are correct that the government should invest in important programs. But they should also clean house within the budget as well.

        February 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Caramon

      Have you considered that by increasing government spending, the government requires more revenue in the form of taxes. When the government takes more in revenue, this in turns takes more money away from the private sector. When this happens the private sector spends less money. This is why former President Clinton said it was unwise to raise taxes during a recession.

      January 31, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Economy101

      Thank You!

      January 31, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  17. ghostriter

    This is quite hilarious. When the numbers were good, conservatives swore up and down that the administration was putting out bogus numbers. One month out of the last 8 (that's 2 years for you conservatives) that shows negative growth and you guys are foaming at the mouth.

    Are you really so hard up for something to be mad about that you will continue to manufacture rage in hopes that it will have a negative affect on teh President? Wait.....don't answer that. We already know.

    January 31, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • John

      I do not have to look further than my most recent paycheck to be mad that the government has taken another thousand from me – and you too (if you work). The government reached into our pockets again.
      "when the numbers were good"??? You libs crack me up. 4.9% unemployment under Bush was a "bad number" according to you lib types – but, 8% under Obama is a good number? BTW, first time claims were "unexpectedly higher" than the forecast for last month.
      Let me get this right – even though this country has seen "minimal growth" (with the help of billions in stimulas) you libs kept telling people, but "we are heading in the right direction so all is well". Now that we are heading in the wrong direction "all is well"? Do I have that right libs?
      If Obama "turned things around" how could this happen? And, how could consumer confidence be so poor 4+ years in this OBAMA Recovery?

      January 31, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Caramon

        Really Cynthia, would you defend a news organization that has been caught editing tapes more than once? This is how you create news not report it. Despite the fact that FOX does not support a forum does not take value away from their ability to report news. It take away from your ability to comment on it. It all goes back to what I have said many times before. What one chooses to believe is the only real truth. Look at what happened to Galileo.

        February 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
      • Cynthia L.

        If you are all so concerned about Fox being shut down – WHY aren't you concerned that FOX HAS SHUT YOU DOWN?? Seriously flawed reasoning when you defend a news organization that doesn't have a comment section for readers, listeners to challenge what they say. Cry me a river.

        February 2, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • Caramon

        Yes, I remember the many times there have been calls to shut down Fox news, or Faux as some people put it. As I said before and will say again, "what one chooses to believe is the only truth." People do not want to believe there are opposing viewpoints that may be correct from either side.

        Yet, shutting down media that disputes the current administration would be the time for people to become greatly concerned. People don't have to agree with it or even watch. But allowing only one media view is right from the college country takeover 101. First step is to control the media. This is one reason our check and balances are so important.

        January 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • John

        I am not for either party, but I do agree with your post.
        What is very scary to me is how the press bows down to the current administration. They basically repeat the Dem talking points. Then, at the same time, these libs want to shut down Fox News, basically the only news trying to keep these clowns in Washington in check.

        January 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
      • Caramon

        John, the problem is that people choose who they want to believe. This is true whether you are a Democrat, Republican or independent. At the moment, the President's popularity shows that the majority choose to believe the President well over the Republicans in the House. This is why it would do no good for the Republicans to jump on the news after only one quarter. However, a trend of contraction could be a different story.

        January 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Caramon

      Ghostriter, if you read my comment above you will note that I agree one quarter does not necessarily mean the economy is turning sour. The fourth quarter has shown a major drop from the third in every case. The best response the Republicans could give at this time is "let's wait and see."

      But, let us be honest, if the tables were turned, the Democrats would do exactly the same thing.

      January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • ghostriter

      I'm sorry, I was wrong. One QUARTER out of the last 14 straight that show negative growth. Which would be 3.5 years. And the other 2 quarters were Obama's 1st two as president.

      Oh, the horror.....Oh the humanity.....

      January 31, 2013 at 10:33 am |
      • Monomachos

        Oh the 'my hero can do nothing wrong' . Bad news arrives and the admin is immediately on TV claiming it is the Republican's fault. Just once during this presidency, I'd like to see Obama take responsibility for something that isn't going right and explain how he is going to deal with it instead of always blaming someone else.

        January 31, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  18. Economy101

    Fact – if state cuts spending too drastically – recession follows. Idiots make up facts based on the party they like. Smart people read up about stuff. It's not that hard to find good reading material on the internet. Before posting your opinion, how about you take 5 mins to read from a website of your choice? YOU CANNOT keep crying for spending cuts without knowing what it does to economies – and doesnt matter who is in charge. Someone needs to pump money into the economy to keep it afloat and since governments of the world are the richest non profit orgs, the burden falls on them. If you don't like spending, this is inevitable. 8 years of unprecedented spending under Bush has created this imbalance. Things take a lot longer to fix than to break. We'll be lucky if Obama can do anything to prevent recession – I doubt it!

    January 31, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  19. Kool-Aid Police

    The economy isn't a fixed static thing, you have to know when to open it wide up, reign it in or keep it somewhere in between. The most important thing is to know when to do what and how much of it. It's obvious no one in govt has a clue, we just keep on riding these boom/bust cycles.

    January 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      Shrinking the economy by virtue of austerity is the wrong thing to do. Not that it will ever happen. No Congressman will give up the spending they have for their home districts and states, even conservatives.

      Both government and private sectors need to invest more into our economy, not less. If you didn't like raising taxes then you should not have asked for cuts in the Budget Control Act. You can't have one without the other, both politically and realistically cutting into the deficit.

      I agree with KAP. There is a failure on both parties on moving the economy forward when there is a massive opportunity to do so. Too much politics and focusing on deficits when the economy is stagnant and unemployment remains high. A robust economy is the one powerful cure for our debt problems.

      January 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • Caramon

        So so true. Each party seems more intent on pushing blame on the other side than truly solving the problems today.

        January 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
      • DEcember 2012

        See, that's the problem. You think people who disagree with you on some things are some pawn of the government.

        You are complaining about how local and state governments maintain the highways. My suggestion to you is to build your own highway so you can charge however, how much you want. Could there be less waste? Sure. I suggest you get involved with your state and local government to make it happen. Of course, without the government you wouldn't even have a highway to complain about. It's really that simple.

        February 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • John

        Both repubs and dems love government and think they are royalty. I do not.
        What is your point about the highway? IMO, you could not have picked a worse example. I just took a 3 hour trip to Maine (from NH). The round trip cost me $16. in tolls – which is weird because we already paid for these roads several times over. In MA, they just proposed a 2 billion dollar tax for "transportation infrastructure". How about gas tax, excise tax, taxes on special fuel, taxes on oversized vehicles, state fees, and on and on and on – ALL TO PAY FOR HIGHWAYS? Have you ever heard of the "big dig"? The cost right now is 24 Billion and still growing. These are examples just in my immediate area of billions and billions of waste.
        You think we need more of this? Shouldn't we get people in office that can control the money before we just hand them more billions to waste?

        February 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • December 2012

        Government investment is raising taxes?? Have you driven on a highway lately? You have no clue.

        For a guy who is for neither party, you have a very skewed outlook of government. That's very far right wing too me.

        February 1, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • John

        "Both government and the private sectorneed to invest"? You write this like these are the same things and they are very different. Think of it like this – the private sector isn't creating jobs because they are concerend about what the government keeps putting upon them. Government investment is called "raising taxes"!! Don't you get it? So you want to raise taxes on the same private sector you say should invest? Basically you (the government) are taking resources from the private sector with the so called "government investment". There is only one pool of money here. What you libs do not understand is THERE IS NO "GOVERNMENT MONEY"!!!

        February 1, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • John

      Raising taxes was the wrong thing to do. But it was done anyway.
      More stimulas is the wrong thing to do so we can assume this is what dems will be pushing for very shortly.

      January 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  20. jerry

    if the GNP continues to shrink we are in big trouble...we need real jobs and not the make work govt kind...REAL productivity that don't exist in marxist countries...

    January 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • December 2012

      Go start your own business, hire people, and stop whining.

      February 1, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  21. Dan B

    And the biggest threat is yet to come... Obamacare

    February 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  22. Johnny

    A shrinking economy and stagnate job growth after spending $6 trillion over the last 4 years (and the Federal reserve adding $3 trillion to it's balance sheet).

    I am no financial genious, but something does not appear to be working!

    February 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  23. NOBAMA

    Thanks for nothing all you obama voters.

    February 4, 2013 at 6:42 am |