As you consider the election over the next week there seems to be so much disinformation from all sides. There will be a couple actual pieces of data that come out between now and the election. One such data point was the GDP growth rate reported Thursday. The GDP in Q3 grew 2 percent. That is faster than Q2 growth of 1.3 percent but year-to-date economic growth of 1.74 percent trails 2011 (1.8 percent). So we are growing but at a slower pace than past years. Q3 growth was slowed by the first drop in exports in three years and basically flat business investment. In fact the 2 percent growth was primarily driven by a 9.6 percent increase in government spending (unfortunately funded by borrowing) primarily in defense spending. The other positive news was increased home construction in the quarter but unfortunately business construction fell.On the jobs front the four-week average unemployment claims rose slightly to 368,000. Numbers under 400,000 usually indicate some employment growth. So while the numbers have been flat they do point to some level of sustained job growth as the nation works to regain the 4.5 million jobs still missing compared with pre-recession employment figures.Finally, private industry appears to be on the sideline. Flat investment in the Q3 GDP figures combined with Q3 S&P average earnings projected to drop 1.8 percent when compared to 2011 (first drop since Q3 2009)So, the economy is growing slowly driven by government spending. Businesses are not investing and earnings are down resulting in sluggish employment growth at a pace to slow to recover the jobs lost in the recession in the near future. If the economy is the key election issue for you maybe this will help you decide if you want to stay the course.
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