Washington -The US economy contracted at a rate of 0.1% in the fourth quarter, according to the government's first estimate on Wednesday.
But the economy expanded overall a modest 2.2% for the full year in 2012, a gain from 1.8% in 2013, the Commerce Department said.
The fourth quarter estimate was lower than forecast, but came after a strong 3.1% pace in the third quarter.
"The downturn in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected downturns in private inventory investment, in federal government spending, in exports, and in state and local government spending," the department said.
It stressed that the first estimate of GDP growth is based on incomplete data and is often revised.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.