GDP Growth Revised Upward To 3.1%

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It may seem slow, but at least we're getting somewhere. Aren't the wingers always griping about the GDP? There's a tasty one for them to chew on.

Economic output grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported today. That figure is the third and final estimate of last quarter's GDP growth, and it represents a boost from a previously reported 2.7 percent.

A variety of factors contributed to economic growth last quarter, including consumer spending, federal government spending, and residential fixed investment, which includes home purchases and renovations. The department reports that the new estimate does not substantially change the broader portrait of the nation's economy, though new data do show that consumer spending is showing a "modest pickup," while imports, which subtract from GDP, are falling off.

"In a real sense, I think what this number does is it ratifies the employment reports we've been seeing," says Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors. Unemployment was at 8.3 percent in July, but by the end of the quarter in September, it had fallen to 7.8 percent. A growth rate of 3.1 percent is more congruous with that kind of labor market improvement than the Commerce Department's initial estimate of 2.0 percent, says Naroff.

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