Slower 4th-quar­ter growth likely

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Econ­omy

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

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