Bernanke, however, is hopeful that previous rate reductions and the $168 billion economic aid plan of tax rebates for people and tax breaks for business will energize the economy in the second half of 2008.
A gauge of inflation linked to the GDP report showed that "core" prices - excluding food and energy - grew at a rate of 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter. The inflation reading - although unchanged from the government's initial estimate -showed that inflation had picked up sharply from the third quarter's 2 percent pace.
The inflation figure is above the Fed's comfort zone - the upper bound of which is a 2 percent inflation rate.
With inflation rising as the economy slows, fears are increasing that the country may be headed for a bout of stagflation. That's a scenario the country hasn't experienced since the 1970s.
Even though Bernanke has made clear the Fed's top priority - for now - is trying to get the economy back on track, he also says he remains mindful of inflation risks, especially from high energy prices.
Oil prices have reach new record highs, galloping past $100 a barrel in recent days. High energy prices can spread inflation by boosting the costs of a wide variety of other goods and services and can put a further damper on overall economic growth by crimping consumer spending.
Consumers boosted their spending at just a 1.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter. That was down slightly from the government's previous estimate and marked a pullback from the third quarter's 2.8 percent growth rate. Consumer spending accounts for a big share of overall economic activity and thus is a major factor in how the economy fares.
Business spending on equipment and software grew at a 3.3 percent pace in the final quarter of last year. That was lower than the government's initial estimate and marked a deceleration from the third quarter's 6.2 percent growth rate.
There was a bright spot in the report, however. Sales of US goods and services to other countries grew at a 4.8 percent pace in the fourth quarter, better than previously estimated. US exports have been helped by the declining value of the US dollar, which makes US goods less expensive on foreign markets. The US dollar dipped to another record low on Thursday in Europe.
For all of 2007, the economy grew by 2.2 percent, the weakest showing in five years. That estimate also was not changed from an earlier reading.