The United States economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday, as it struggles to gain any momentum for a sustained recovery.Still, there is some unexpected news.
That estimate matched the consensus forecasts for the gross domestic product, and is a slight uptick from the second quarter.
An economy growing at a sluggish, 2 percent, nearly all economists agree, cannot produce nearly the demand needed to bring down the nation’s painfully high 9.6 percent unemployment rate. And the trade gap remains wide, as imports outpaced exports.
These numbers are unlikely to provide much of a morale boost for President Obama and Democrats, who are just days away from crucial midterm elections. High unemployment and soaring foreclosure numbers in the Midwest and Western states already made this a particularly tough election season for Democrats. Friday’s numbers will probably produce little relief.
“It’s the expected G.D.P. number, which is mostly bad news for the economy,” said Josh Bivens, an economist with the liberal leaning Economic Policy Institute. “The growth rate is just nowhere near enough to put downward pressure on unemployment.”
With a downward revision to consumer expectations more than offsetting an upward revision to their assessment of current conditions, Reuters and the University of Michigan released a report on Friday showing an unexpected downward revision to their consumer sentiment index for October.
The report showed that the consumer sentiment index for October was downwardly revised to a reading of 67.7 from the previous estimate of 67.9 and is down from 68.2 in September. Economists had expected the index to be upwardly revised to a reading of 68.0.
As a result of the downward revision, the consumer sentiment index is now at its lowest level since November of 2009.