The economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.0 percent in the third quarter of 2017. This is a pretty good result, especially considering the revision of last quarter’s growth to 3.1 percent. That’s two quarters in a row of 3 percent growth. Third quarter growth was mostly driven by a sizeable increase in the purchase of consumer durable goods (cars, refrigerators, etc.) and an even bigger increase in the purchase of commercial equipment (computers, backhoes, etc.). Investment in housing was down considerably for the second quarter in a row.
Disposable personal income increased by $51 billion less than in the second quarter. Consumers apparently made up for this by eating into savings, which decreased $51 billion compared to the second quarter. This is a small red flag, but nothing to get too concerned about unless it keeps up.
Aside from the fact that Donald Trump will start crowing about how growth like this has never been seen before in human history, this is basically good news. I remain concerned about some signs here and there that point to a fairly tired expansion, but so far there’s no indication that the US economy is in anything but pretty decent shape.