gross domestic product gross domestic product

A construction worker at an apartment and retail complex in Nashville. The U.S. economy grew at a less-than-expected 2.6 percent pace in the fourth quarter. Mark Humphrey/AP hide caption

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Mark Humphrey/AP

China's manufacturing sector helped boost the country's GDP, in statistics released on Thursday. Here, a worker at a Ford manufacturing plant uses a laptop next to a car body on an assembly line in Chongqing. Shi Tou/Reuters hide caption

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Shi Tou/Reuters

Claudia Caballero, a district manager for Aldi, talks with applicant Manoushka Metellus (right) at a job fair in Florida earlier this month. With a low unemployment rate, consumers are still spending but business inventories fell during the second quarter. Lynne Sladky/AP hide caption

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Lynne Sladky/AP

FedEx employees sorted through mounds of packages in December at one of the company's facilities in Miami. Consumer spending helped fuel the economy in the third quarter. Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate (a figure that adjusts for holiday spending to show the "real" growth). Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At a Ford plant in Michigan, workers load a battery into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle. The economy picked up speed in the third quarter. Economists caution, though, that it may slow in coming quarters. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

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Bill Pugliano/Getty Images