Q3 GDP Growth in U.S. Beats Expectations

Fears of recession south of the border were allayed Wednesday with new positive numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department.

Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of the nation's economy — grew faster than expected in the third quarter, but slowed slightly as business investment continued to decline.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that economic activity grew at an annualized rate of 1.9% in the third quarter, down slightly from the 2% pace in the second quarter. Economists had expected the first look at third-quarter economic growth to come in at 1.6%

The better-than-expected data was the result of continued consumer spending as well as government expenditures. Personal consumption expenditures, a measure of spending by American households, rose at a 2.9% annualized rate while government spending grew at a 2% rate.

Growth in gross private domestic investment, however, remained on a downward path in the three months ended Sept. 30 with a slip of 1.5%, still far better than the 6.3% drop in the second quarter. Business spending in particular weighed on the investment number as spending on structures continued to decline, with a 15.3% fall. The pace of spending on equipment sank 3.8%.

The White House’s aggressive trade tactics, especially the back-and-forth tariff battle with China, have slowed business sentiment, with executives expressing concern in surveys and earnings calls.