US economy grows for first time this year in third quarter


An applicant applies for a job on laptop during a job fair hiring new postal workers and mail carrier assistants at a United States Postal Service (USPS) post office on July 18, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)

Washington, United States | AFP |

The US economy rebounded in the third quarter, expanding for the first time this year in welcome news for President Joe Biden days ahead of midterm elections, government data showed Thursday.

Economic issues have become a flashpoint in the United States, with decades-high inflation weighing on growth and squeezing households.

Fears of a downturn have intensified in the world’s biggest economy after two quarters of negative growth, commonly viewed as a strong signal that a recession is underway — a trend that would have global consequences and domestic political costs.

But gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the July to September period, according to the latest Commerce Department data.

Economic performance was helped by strong trade, even as weaker consumer spending on goods casts a pall on growth as higher prices bite.

The US economy shrank 0.6 percent in the second quarter, according to revised numbers, after a larger decline in the first three months this year.

The latest GDP figures reflect “increases in exports, consumer spending” and government spending, said the Commerce Department.

Biden has insisted that the US economy is on the right path, but analysts warn of risks ahead, as households grapple with soaring prices and draw down on their savings.