But within the 3.1% the government component is sitting at 0.9% up less than expected from Q3's 0.7%. The Q1 and Q2 numbers were 2.5% and 2.2%.
This is noteworthy: the current economic recovery was kick-started by fiscal stimuli - most notably tax cuts and deficit-spending. With those being scaled back (well, theoretically deficit reduction is the order of the day in Washington) the hope all round must be that the economy is now self-sustaining.
On that count the signs are mixed. But the likely budget-busting $80 billion supplementary for Iraq being prepared by the Bush Administration indicates that the crutches of fiscal stimuli haven't been kicked away quite yet.