The U.S. economy’s growth slowed slightly to a 2.9% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2022, down from a 3.2% annual rate in the third quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

Output increases: “Economic output grew 1% in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with a year earlier, the Commerce Department said. That compares with 5.7% growth in 2021 and 2.6% growth in 2019 ahead of the pandemic.”

Why it happened: Some of the reduction in growth in 2022 represents an expected return to normal after the supercharged output of 2021, when businesses reopened after pandemic lockdowns.

An eye ahead: Although growth has continued, economists remain concerned about the possibility of a recession on the horizon. The Federal Reserve’s ongoing efforts to tamp down inflation are designed to cool the economy and may cause significant reductions in spending and hiring.