US economy grew at 26 per cent rate in fourth quarter

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy slowed in the final three months of last year to an annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent, the slowest pace since the beginning of 2018, as various factors including the government shutdown took a toll on growth. Economists believe growth has slowed even more in the current quarter.The Commerce Department says growth in the gross domestic product in the October-December quarter was down from a 3.4 per cent gain in the third quarter. The government says that slower consumer spending was the biggest factor in the slowdown. The 35-day government shutdown shaved an estimated 0.1 percentage point from growth in the fourth quarter.GDP growth for all of 2019 came in at 2.9 per cent, the best showing in three years.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press