Despite two hurricanes and reductions in infrastructure and consumer spending, the U.S. GDP grew at a rate of 3 percent annually during the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. This is the first time in three years that the GDP has maintained an annual growth rate of at least 3 percent for two consecutive quarters, ABC News reports.
While damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma expectedly slowed certain portions of the economy, inventory increases and a smaller trade deficit helped keep the growth rate high. (Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico, had no effect on the percent growth as the island territories are not included in the U.S.'s national accounts, CNBC notes.)
Businesses accumulated inventory at a high rate during the July-September period, giving the GDP growth rate a nearly quarter-percent bump. The rate of exports increased by 2.3 percent while imports dropped by 0.8 percent. That narrowed the trade deficit in the third quarter, adding 0.41 percent to overall GDP growth.
Economists originally forecasted a 2.5 percent growth rate for the period, down from the 3.1 percent GDP growth in the second quarter, Reuters notes. The chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, expressed a similar level of caution last month when she said that the hurricanes might slow economic growth.