Maybe the US isn’t living in a world of 2% GDP growth, after all

Matt Phillips

Sure, it might seem petty. But we never claimed to be anything but. And so, it’s worth pointing out that today’s third-and-final update to quarterly GDP data for the third quarter showed the United States growing at a 3.1% annual rate. That’s better than the 2% growth rate that everyone and Bill Gross has been saying the US is capable of generating. Here’s a look, via BNP Paribas:

The improvement that pushed up activity during the summer appears to be linked to that pesky US consumer that we’ve been telling you about. The government reported that consumer spending—about two thirds of US economic activity—grew by about 1.6% during the July-September quarter. That’s better than its previous estimate of 1.4%, thanks to spending on durable goods and health care.

And by the way, this better-than-expected growth seems to be coming just as central bankers like the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan are going to be stepping on the accelerators once again. I don’t know about you, but it feels like the US economy is shifting gears towards faster growth. And that increase in speed is definitely a good thing—unless, of course, the car is flying toward, something like, say, a giant cliff for some reason.