U.S. economic growth quickened to a 3.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, faster than economists predicted and evidence the economy was able to withstand higher energy costs and Hurricane Katrina.
The government's first estimate of the quarter's gross domestic product compares with a 3.3 percent pace from April through June, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. A measure of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve rose at the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2003.
Companies pared inventories for a second quarter, setting the stage for stronger production that will help fuel the economy even consumer spending is held back by higher fuel bills, waning confidence and lagging wage gains, economists said. The Commerce Department provided no estimate of Katrina's effect on growth.
Some very good news. Economic growth is the silver bullet that solves all sorts of fiscal and social policy problems.
A 3.8% growth rate means a doubling of wealth every 18 years. That can give us a lot of options.