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Deep Downturn Confirmed

11:33 PM MDT | March 22, 2009 | ARNOLD PEARLMAN

The economy contracted at an annualized rate of 6.2% in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Federal Reserve’s revised data. Earlier estimates pegged the decline at 3.8%. Exports shrunk at an annualized 24%, compared with an earlier estimate of 20%. Only one category, housing expenditures, was revised upward. Productivity also declined in the quarter, as output slumped at a faster pace than business firms reduced their payrolls, analysts say. However, full-year productivity advanced 2.8%, while unit labor costs—an important component of...

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