The U.S. economy grew at a 2.3% rate in the third quarter, slightly better than previously thought, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. But prospects for a solid rebound going forward are being clouded by the rapid spread of the latest variant of the coronavirus, according to an Associated Press report.
The third and final look at the performance of the gross domestic product, the nation’s total output of goods and services, was higher than last month’s estimate of 2.1% growth in the third quarter.
The newfound strength came primarily from stronger consumer spending than previously thought and businesses in rebuilding their inventories more than initial estimates revealed.
The 2.3% third-quarter gain follows explosive growth that began the year as the country began to emerge from the pandemic, at least economically. Growth soared to 6.3% in the first quarter and 6.7% in the second quarter. The emergence of the delta variant in the summer was blamed for much of the third-quarter slowdown.
Now with the appearance of the omicron variant, coming on top of high inflation and lingering supply chain issues, there are concerns about future growth prospects.
Those fears have sent the stock market on a turbulent ride in recent days although new optimism that the omicron risks will be manageable allowed the Dow Jones industrial average to stage a 560-point rebound on Tuesday.