Third-Quarter GDP Growth Was Surprisingly Strong 4.3%

During the past few days business economists have been marveling at the strength of the U.S. economy in the wake of this year's hurricane damage and higher energy prices. But it's safe to say many of those economists were surprised at the Commerce Department's Nov. 30 report that the U.S. economy grew at an inflation-adjusted annual rate of 4.3% in the third quarter of this year, a half percentage point higher than first estimated.

Basically, more was spent on housing, nondurable manufactured goods, and equipment and software than preliminary data showed.

Quarter-to-quarter inflation as measured by personal consumption expenditures minus price changes for food and fuel, said to be Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's favorite inflation indicator, was a relatively mild 1.2% in the third quarter.

Pre-tax corporate profits fell 1.2% in the third quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just under $1.39 trillion from $1.41 trillion in the second quarter of 2005.

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