The cavalcade of depressing economic news continued today with the release of a report by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) that aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area declined by 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2008, the largest quarterly decline since the OECD began keeping records in 1960. The OECD concluded that the U.S. enjoyed the smallest GDP decline (1.0%) in the fourth quarter of all of the Group of 7 major industrialized nations, with Japan experiencing the largest decline (3.3%) and Germany experiencing a 2.1% decline.

The OECD area includes the 30 OECD member countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States), but this data does not include GDP for Canada, which was not available at the time the report was prepared.