WASHINGTON (AP) — Shrugging off rampant inflation and rising interest rates, the U.S. economy grew at an unexpectedly strong 3.2% annual pace from July through September, the government reported Thursday in a healthy upgrade from its earlier estimate of third-quarter growth.
The rise in gross domestic product — the economy’s output in goods and services — marked a return to growth after consecutive drops in the January-March and April-June periods.
Still, many economists expect the economy to slow and probably slip into recession next year under the pressure of higher interest rates being engineered by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation that earlier this year reached heights not seen since the early 1980s.
Driving the third-quarter growth were strong exports and healthy consumer spending.
Investment in housing plunged at an annual rate of 27.1%, hammered by higher mortgage rates arising from the Fed’s decision to raise its own benchmark rate seven times this year.
Thursday’s GDP report was the Commerce Department’s third and final look at the July-September quarter. The first look at the fourth quarter comes out Jan. 26. Forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia expect the economy to grow again the last three months of the year — but at a slower, 1% annual rate.
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