The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the third estimate of real GDP growth for the third quarter of 2011. Real GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.8 percent, a little weaker than the earlier estimate of 2.0 percent. The main changes were weaker growth in personal consumption expenditures with some of the weakness offset by a smaller drag from the inventory slowdown.
The BEA explains that the third release is based on more complete source data. The weaker PCE growth was related to replacing an estimate for healthcare spending that was based on wages and salaries in the sector with one based on receipts from hospitals.
Weaker growth is rarely good news, but today’s revisions, following 0.4 percent and 1.3 percent growth in the first quarter and second quarters, do not materially alter the basic pattern of grudging improvement in economic growth since the slowdown in 2010.