Slower 4th-quarter growth likely
time in three years. But the economy is likely slowing in the current quarter.
The Commerce Department’s third and final estimate Thursday of growth for the July-September quarter was revised up from its previous estimate of a 2.7 percent annual growth rate.
Growth in the third quarter was more than twice the 1.3 percent growth rate in the April-June quarter. But disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and uncertainty weighing on consumers and businesses from the “fiscal cliff” are likely holding back growth in the October-December quarter. Many analysts predict an annual growth rate of just 1.5 percent for this quarter.
In other economic reports released Thursday:
■ The Labor Department said the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week by 17,000, reversing four weeks of declines. A seasonally adjusted 361,000 people sought unemployment aid the week ended Dec. 15, from a revised 344,000 the week before. The economy has generated an average of 151,000 jobs a month in 2012, not enough to pull high unemployment down sharply.
■ A measure of the U.S. economy designed to signal future activity fell in