American GDP rose by 3.5 percent in the third quarter of this year, ending a sorry series of four successive quarters of decline.
The figures were helped by the enormous government impetus package that included the ‘cash for clunkers’ scheme for buyers of new cars. Another factor was a 3.4 percent rise in consumer spending, which normally accounts for two thirds of US economic activity. Unofficially the data means the US economy is out of recession but with the stimulus package starting to wind down, there were words of caution from the president. Barack Obama told a White House press conference: “I’m gratified that our economy grew in the 3rd quarter of this year. We’ve come a long way since the first 3 months of 2009 when our economy shrank by an alarming 6.4 percent. In fact, the 3.5 per cent growth in the 3rd quarter is the largest 3-month gain we’ve seen in 2 years. This is obviously welcome news and affirmation that this recession is abating and the steps we’ve taken have made the difference, but I also know that we have a long way to go to fully restore the economy and recover from what’s been the longest and deepest downturn since the Great Depression.”