The latest snapshot of economic growth shows the U.S. recovery remains tepid.
Growth in the July- September quarter climbed slightly but still was too weak to stir significantly more hiring. The pace of expansion rose to a 2 percent annual rate from 1.3 percent in the April-June quarter, led by more consumer and government spending.
Voters who still are undecided about the presidential election aren’t likely to be swayed by Friday’s mixed report from the Commerce Department.
“For the average American, I don’t think changes in quarterly GDP” make a big difference in their perception of the economy, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. “It’s certainly good for the president that the number is not bad because that would resonate.”
With 11 days until the election, the economy is being kept afloat by a revitalized consumer and the early stages of a housing recovery. But more than three years after the Great Recession ended, the nation continues to struggle because businesses are reluctant to invest, and slower global growth has cut demand for American exports.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney is telling voters that President Barack Obama’s policies have kept the economy from accelerating and have even slowed growth in the past two years. The 1.7 percent annual growth rate for the first nine months of 2012 remains slightly behind last year’s 1.8 percent growth. And both are below 2010’s growth of 2.4 percent.