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Third-quarter GDP figures offer reason for optimism

October 27, 2011

An initial look at the national economy’s third quarter should lessen the fears of a double-dip recession. Though the growth rate of 2.5 percent isn’t headline material in and of itself, it is solid enough to think the economy is slowly crawling back to sustainable long-term growth.

A detailed look at the numbers shows strong growth in domestic investment, specifically in equipment and software. This is an encouraging sign, as businesses have been reluctant to invest while the recovery is still shaky. Personal consumption grew to its highest point this year (a 2.4 percent growth rate) while government consumption was flat.

To be sure, there are still concerns out there. Chief among those is the European debt crisis. Just one year ago, we thought the economy was well on its way to recovery, but the earthquake in Japan and high fuel prices put on the brakes. Now, with consumption and private investment picking up some steam, the basic engines of economic recovery appear to be getting back on track.

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