The Commerce Department upped Q3 gross domestic product growth from 7.2% to 8.2%, making it the best quarter for the U.S. economy since Q1 1984.
The reason? The initial quarterly estimate of GDP growth doesn't include the third month's actual numbers for inventories and trade, and inventories unexpectedly rose for the first time in six months. Inventory build added 0.16% to the revision.
With the change, after-tax corporate profits climbed 10.6% sequentially in Q3, following Q2's 5% drop. Corporate profits vaulted 30% year over year, and those for non-financial companies leaped an astonishing 70%. Business fixed investment climbed a revised 16.7%, versus 14%, and companies spent 18.4% spending on software and equipment
There was more champagne for those whose high is economic indicators. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index clocked in at 91.7 in November, versus 81.7 in October. It's the highest number in 14 months. The percentage of people surveyed who described jobs as hard to get dropped to 29.5% from 33.7%.
Opinions on the numbers ranged widely, from economists who declared that Q4 couldn't possibly sustain Q3's rate to those who asserted that 4% sustainable growth is in the cards. But our favorite was The New York Times quote of Nomura Securities Chief Economist David Resler saying, "A ton of cars were sold in the third quarter."
A ton? That's not very much now, is it, David?
What's your view? Onward and upward with more growth or a pullback to lower levels? If you like following these and other economic numbers, enjoy our Economy & Markets discussion board .