GDP Estimate Jumps Higher

According to the Commerce Department, the economic growth from July to September was much better than it initially estimated.

According to a report released this morning, the gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 4.3 percent during the third quarter of the year. The first read of broad economic performance, released a month ago, put growth at 3.8 percent. The economy hasn't been this good since the beginning of 2004.

What does this mean? The U.S. economy is moving along at a positive clip despite the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It's amazing to think that just three months ago a major metro area was being evacuated and nearly a third of the nation's crude refining capacity was shut down.

Even with these "major economic disruptions," American consumers and businesses continued to spend. Most of today's upward revision can be attributed to strong consumer spending, business investment in equipment and software, and strong interest in residential real estate during the third quarter.

Today's number virtually guarantees continued increases in interest rates from the Fed over the coming months. It also points to a fairly positive jobs report on Friday. If the economy is truly moving along at a brisk pace, workers should be getting jobs.

What is GDP? The gross domestic product is, according to many economists, the best barometer of economic performance in the country. It measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.

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