The Economy's Big Screeching Slowdown to End 2012

Photograph by William Albert Allard/National Geographic Stock

Last week we learned the U.S. economy grew 2.7 percent in the third quarter, a good bit faster than the 2 percent originally estimated. On the face of it, that’s good news. But most economists took one look at the revised data and immediately chopped their estimates for fourth-quarter growth. What spooked them? One word: inventories.

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