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GDP Growth Was Weak In Third Quarter, Confidence Indexes Meander

The U.S. economy managed 2% real growth of gross domestic product in the third quarter, according to the advance estimate from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the Commerce Department, released last Friday. While the rate of growth is higher than the paltry 1.7% rise in real GDP in the second quarter, it still is too slow to generate much jobs growth.

Consumer spending was up 2.6% in the quarter, a rise from 2.2% in the second quarter and only 1.9% in the first quarter.

Also released Friday was the final October measure on consumer sentiment from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. The sentiment index fell again to 67.7 from 68.2 in September. It was the lowest reading for sentiment since November last year. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, released earlier last week, rose slightly to 50.2 in October, up from 48.6 in September. Expectation indexes from both research group rose slightly.

The reality is most American consumers believe recovery of their personal financial condition will be a long, hard slog.

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