GDP up 3.5 percent; jobless claims fall

Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:11am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter for the first time in a year as consumer spending and investment in new home-building rebounded, data showed on Thursday, unofficially ending the worst recession in 70 years.

KEY POINTS: * The Commerce Department, in its first estimate of third-quarter GDP, said the economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2007, after contracting 0.7 percent in the April-June period. * The growth pace in GDP, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, was above market expectations for a 3.3 percent rate. The economy last grew in the second quarter of 2008. * Recessions in the United States are dated by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the private-sector group often takes months to make determinations. The economy slipped into recession at the end of 2007. * The third-quarter recovery was generally broad-based. Consumer spending, which accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, surged at a 3.4 percent rate in the third quarter, the fastest advance since the first quarter of 2007.

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