Economic growth revised up, exceeds expectations

Updated
 
Economic growth revised up, exceeds expectations
Economic growth revised up, exceeds expectations

The initial estimate on economic growth in the third quarter – July, August, and September – was an underwhelming 2 percent. Since then, the numbers have been revised up, and then revised up again.

The U.S. economy grew more quickly than previously stated in the July-to-September quarter due to stronger trade, faster health-care spending and increased local government construction, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday. The Commerce Department said third-quarter gross domestic product grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.1% in the third quarter…. Economists polled by MarketWatch had anticipated a 2.9% reading in the third and final estimate.

For context, note that the 3.1 percent GDP figure is the best since the end of 2011, and the second best quarter of the last three years. It’s short of what most would consider a “robust” recovery, but it’s nevertheless heartening.

As for the politics, to reiterate a point from last month, the conventional wisdom suggests President Obama won a second term in spite of a struggling economy, but in light of the stronger growth shortly before the election, it may be time to consider whether Obama prevailed because of an improving economy.

Above, you’ll find a chart showing GDP numbers by quarter since the Great Recession began. The red columns show the economy under the Bush administration; the blue columns show the economy under the Obama administration.

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Economic growth revised up, exceeds expectations

Updated