US economy grew 3.2% in Q3

Despite widespread inflation and rising interest rates, the U.S. economy grew at an unexpectedly strong 3.2% annual pace from July through September, the government reported Thursday in a healthy upgrade from its earlier estimate of third-quarter growth.

The rise in gross domestic product — the economy’s output in goods and services — marked a return to growth after consecutive drops in the January–March and April–June periods.

Still, many economists expect the economy to slow and probably slip into recession next year under the pressure of higher interest rates being engineered by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation that earlier this year reached heights not seen since the early 1980s.

Driving the third-quarter growth were strong exports and healthy consumer spending. The job market has stayed resilient throughout, putting upward pressure on wages and prices. Employers have added 392,000 jobs a month so far this year, and the unemployment rate is at 3.7%, just off a half-century low.