Thursday's reading on third-quarter gross domestic product finally reflected the toll of the financial crisis on the economy. The Bureau of Economic...

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Thursday’s reading on third-quarter gross domestic product finally reflected the toll of the financial crisis on the economy.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that GDP, the output of all the nation’s goods and services, fell 0.3 percent, less than the 0.5 percent decline predicted by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. Consumer spending plunged 3.1 percent after growing for several quarters.

Export growth and government spending on defense remained important offsets, but exports could weaken in coming quarters.