U.S. economy grows a bit despite earlier predictions

The U.S. economy grew slightly in the last few months of 2012, instead of shrinking a little bit as first reported.

Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department says the Gross Domestic Product grew at a one-tenth of a percent annual rate in the fourth-quarter of last year.

The GDP is the sum of all economic activity in the country, from haircuts, to software design, to construction.

Commerce Department experts made a routine revision of the GDP figures as more complete information became available. The new data showed that construction and trade figures were stronger than first estimated.

A separate government report showed the number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation dropped by 22,000 to a nationwide total of 344,000 last week. Jobless claims are a way to measure the number of layoffs, and a decline is consistent with an improving job market.

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