Delta Variant, Shortages Severely Restrict U.S. Economic Growth in Third Quarter

Reuters (10/28/21) Mutikani, Lucia

The economy grew at its slowest pace in more than a year in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, as Covid-19 infections rose, further straining global supply chains and causing shortages of goods that impinged on consumer spending. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.0% annualized rate last quarter, the slowest since the second quarter of 2020, when the economy suffered a significant contraction. The economy advanced at a 6.7% rate in the second quarter. The delta variant of the coronavirus negatively affected labor shortages at factories, mines, and ports. Economists surveyed by Reuters had anticipated GDP increasing at a 2.7% rate last quarter.

Fewer people are filing new claims for unemployment benefits, according to a separate report from the U.S. Department of Labor. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 last week, the lowest level since mid-March 2020, and marking the third consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected 290,000 applications in the latest week.

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