WASHINGTON – Advance real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property in the U.S. -- increased at an annual rate of 2.8% in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Commerce Department reported on Friday.

The advance estimate was below the 3.0% median increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

The increase reflected gains of 2.0% in personal consumption expenditures, 10.9% in real residential fixed investment, and 4.7% in real exports. Those gains were partially offset by losses of 7.3% in federal government spending and 2.6% in state and local government spending. Imports, which are subtracted from the calculation of GDP, increased 4.4%, the Commerce Department said.

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