Despite a slowdown in consumer spending during the summer, the U.S. economy still grew at a 2.6% annual rate in the third quarter. Although consumer spending is the main engine of economic growth, it cooled off from July to September compared to the previous quarter.
Some economists prefer to look at final sales to the private domestic purchasers- a measure of consumer and business spending rather than the total GDP number- as a gauge of underlying economic demand. This metric inched up 0.1% in the third quarter after rising at a 0.5% rate in the second quarter and 2.1% annual rate in the first quarter.
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