|US economy accelerated in third quarter at 3.6pc, jobless claims tumble by 23,000
The US economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest since early 2012. But nearly half the growth came from a buildup in business stockpiles, a trend that could reverse in the current quarter and hold back growth.
Also today, the Labor Department said the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits tumbled 23,000 last week to 298,000, nearly a six-year low that shows companies are laying off fewer workers.
The Commerce Department's second estimate of third-quarter economic growth today was much higher than the initial 2.8 percent rate reported last month. And it was well above the 2.5 percent growth rate for the April-June quarter.
But almost the entire third-quarter revision came from a big jump in stockpiles. Consumer spending, the lifeblood of the economy, was the weakest in nearly four years.
When excluding inventories, the economy grew at a 1.9 percent rate in the third quarter, down from 2.1 percent in the spring.
The Labor Department says the less volatile four-week moving average declined 10,750 to 322,250.
Last week's jobless claims nearly matched a September figure, distorted by late reporting from California. When excluding the September report, last week's figures were the lowest since May 2007.
Applications have fallen seven of the past eight weeks, a hopeful sign for job growth at the end of the year. The decline has corresponded with stronger hiring in recent months.
Last week included the Thanksgiving holiday, which can present challenges for seasonal adjustments. But government officials say there were no special factors affecting the report.—AP