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U.S. GDP Beats Expectations, Growing At 3 Percent

The U.S. economy grew faster than analysts had expected in the third quarter of 2017, with the Bureau of Economic Analysis saying America's real gross domestic product increased at 3 percent — below the 3.1 percent rise in the previous quarter, but showing resilience in the face of debilitating hurricanes.

"Together they represent the fastest six-month period of growth since 2014,' NPR's John Ydstie reports. He adds, "Economic growth has reached or exceeded the 3 percent rate a number of times during this recovery, but the economy hasn't been able to sustain that pace."

The growth "was supported by consumer spending and business investment," the BEA says. Its report also cites positive data in exports and federal government spending.

Welcoming the news, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said via a statement, "With unemployment at a 16-year low, the stock market at new highs and economic confidence soaring, the U.S. economy is surging under this President's leadership."

Sanders added that for growth to continue, Congress should adopt the Trump administration's approach to changing the tax code.

Analysts had predicted a possible slowdown, after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought extensive problems and slowed economic activity in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas.

Before those catastrophic storms hit, economists had been expecting an even stronger showing for the third quarter — as high as nearly 4 percent, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank's GDP Now forecast.

Reporting on Friday's numbers, John says that a big surge in inventories added by businesses was the main reason third-quarter growth exceeded expectations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.