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Third-quarter GDP left at 2.1% — stronger consumer spending offset by weaker business investment

December 20, 2019

The numbers: The pace of growth in the U.S. economy was left at 2.1% in the third quarter, as strong consumer spending was offset by weaker business investment in inventories, in the final estimate from the Commerce Department on Friday.

The data showed frothier consumer spending than previously reported in the period running from July to September, but the increase in inventories, or unsold goods, was also marked down to leave GDP unchanged.

What happened: The increase in consumer spending, the main engine of U.S. economic growth, was raised to a 3.2% annual pace from 2.9%, which was not quite as strong as the second quarter’s heady 4.6% rate but still very robust.

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