U.S. Economy Fared Better Than Originally Thought In Third Quarter

Gross domestic product revised upward in quarter.

The third-quarter economic slowdown in the U.S. wasn't as severe as initially reported, the government said Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said revised gross domestic product - the total output of goods and services - increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the quarter, compared with the advance estimate of 1.6 percent. (In the second quarter, GDP expanded at a 2.6 percent clip.)

Commerce said the increase in GDP primarily reflected positive contributions from  personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, equipment and software, nonresidential structures, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from residential fixed investment.

Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in GDP growth in the quarter was the result not only of an acceleration in imports, but also a larger decrease in residential fixed investment, and decelerations in private inventory investment, in PCE for services, and in state and local government spending. Those were partly offset by upturns in equipment and software, in PCE for durable goods, and in federal government spending.

Final sales of computers contributed 0.09 percentage point to the third-quarter growth after contributing 0.04 percentage point to the second-quarter growth, the government said. Motor vehicle output contributed  0.76 percentage point after subtracting 0.31 percentage point
from the second-quarter growth.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,  increased 2.1 percent in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage point more than in the advance estimate. That index increased 4.0 percent in the second quarter.  Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.0 percent in the third quarter, compared with 2.9 percent in the second.

Personal consumption expenditures increased 2.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in the second. Federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment increased 1.5 percent in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 4.5 percent in the second.

Corporate profits increased $66.2 billion in the quarter, compared with an increase of $22.7 billion in the second quarter, and business inventories rose by $58 billion, compared with the original estimate of $51 billion.

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