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Eds: Updates with more details and background. With AP Photos.
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest since early 2012. But nearly half the growth came from a buildup in business stockpiles, a trend that could reverse in the current quarter and hold back growth.
The Commerce Department's second estimate of third-quarter growth released Thursday was sharply higher than the initial 2.8 percent rate reported last month. And it was well above the 2.5 percent growth rate for the April-June quarter.
Almost the entire third-quarter revision came from a big jump in stockpiles. Consumer spending, the lifeblood of the economy, was the weakest in nearly four years.
When excluding inventories, the economy grew at a 1.9 percent rate in the third quarter, down from 2.1 percent in the spring. That's in line with the same subpar rate that the economy has seen since the Great Recession ended four years ago.
Many economists believe that overall growth will be around 2 percent in the current October-December period.
Business stockpiles contributed 1.7 percent points to growth, twice the contribution reported last month in the first estimate. Companies are likely to cut back on restocking, especially if they don't see consumers stepping up spending.
In the third-quarter, consumers increased their spending at a tepid 1.4 percent annual rate. That was the slowest since the final quarter of 2009, a few months after the recession officially ended. Consumer spending typically drives 70 percent of economic activity.
But the spending activity in the third quarter was held back by flat spending on services. That may have reflected an unusually mild summer, which cut demand for air conditioning. One hopeful sign: Consumer spent on goods at the fastest rate since early 2012.
Other details in the report were mixed. Business investment in equipment was flat in the third quarter. Spending on housing construction remained strong, rising at an annual rate of 13 percent. Government spending edged up at a slight 0.4 percent annual rate in the summer. The biggest spending increase in state and local government spending since 2009 offset another decline in federal expenditures.
A number reports have offered some promise that the fourth quarter could be stronger than many economists are predicting.
In October, spending at retail businesses rose solidly, U.S. exports grew to a record level and employers added 204,000 jobs. November car sales rose 9 percent and are running at an annual rate of 16.4 million, the best performance of the year, according to Autodata Corp.
But early reports on holiday shopping have been disappointing. The National Retail Federation estimates that sales over the four-day Thanksgiving Day weekend -- arguably the most crucial shopping stretch for retail businesses -- fell for the first time since the group began keeping track in 2006.
Faster growth could make the Federal Reserve more inclined to begin slowing its bond purchases, which have kept long-term interest rates low and encouraged more borrowing and spending.
Many economists believe the central bank will not reduce the $85 billion-a-month pace when it meets later this month.
Posted 4:43 AM EST on December 05, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The big discounts certainly are a major draw, but holiday sales may also get a boost this year from the lower price of gasoline. AAA says the average price of gasoline has tumbled 49 cents from its peak this year to $3.29 a gallon, putting it on track for the lowest average since 2010. And history shows that when gas prices drop, consumers become more likely to splurge on dinners out. Impulse buys at the mall seem like less of a stretch. Many retail analysts have forecast a ho-hum sales gain of around 2 percent this year. Others predict a more optimistic increase of up to 3.9 percent. But some analysts say steadily cheaper gas could send holiday sales soaring above 5.4 percent. Cheaper gas might also help shore up consumers' fragile confidence in an economic recovery that's lumbered along for 4 1/2 years.
Posted 12:26 PM EST on November 27, 2013
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Shoppers in many states will line up for deals hours after Thanksgiving dinner, but stores in a handful are barred by law from opening on the holiday. Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine have so-called "blue laws" that bar many big stores from opening Thursday. The laws prohibit most big box stores department stores and large supermarkets from opening. There have been some complaints over the years from companies that complain they're losing business to neighboring states or online stores, and recent pushes to change the laws in Maine and Massachusetts have gone nowhere. But many shoppers, workers and even retailers say they're more than happy with the status quo, which grants a one-day reprieve from work and holiday shopping.
Posted 5:43 PM EST on November 26, 2013
HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Gun advocates are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's ruling against state laws designed to buck federal gun rules. Earlier this year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge's decision against the 2009 Montana Firearms Freedom Act. The measure has since been passed in other pro-gun states. The laws attempt to declare that federal firearms regulations don't apply to guns kept in the state where they were manufactured. The Justice Department has argued successfully that the courts already have decided Congress can use its power to regulate interstate commerce. Gun advocates asked the Supreme Court on Monday to limit the reach of Congress to regulate guns. The Supreme Court is expected to decide next year whether to accept the request.
Posted 5:13 AM EST on November 25, 2013
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 19, 2013-- Please note that the
Zelda photo has been replaced.
The release reads:
For any Nintendo fan, Nov. 22 is going to be one of the best days of
the year. On Friday, three new games in three extraordinary franchises
are launching on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems. Super Mario 3D
World for Wii U, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the
Nintendo 3DS family of systems and Mario Party: Island Tour, also for
the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, are all launching in stores and in
the Nintendo eShop. The games feature Nintendo characters and
experiences that can't be played anywhere else, and demonstrate how
Nintendo is bringing value and variety to everyone for the holidays.
"Nintendo is making holiday shopping easy for everyone with the
release of three major games on one day," said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo
of America's executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. "There is
something for everyone in this lineup. Super Mario 3D World is perfect
for families, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a
must-have for gamers and Mario Party: Island Tour is great for kids of
Super Mario 3D World is the newest game in the world-famous Super
Mario Bros. series. The Wii U game is the first 3D Mario platformer
that lets up to four players play together using Mario, Luigi,
Princess Peach and Toad. Each playable character has different
abilities. For example, Luigi can jump higher than the other
characters and Princess Peach can float in the air for a limited time.
Super Mario 3D World introduces players to beautiful HD graphics,
numerous breathtaking worlds and never-before-seen power-ups like the
cat transformation. In multiplayer mode, one player is able to play
using the Wii U GamePad while up to three others can use various
controllers like the Wii Remote or the Wii U Pro Controller. For more
information about Super Mario 3D World, visit
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the successor to
fan-favorite Super NES game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,
which launched in 1992. Even though The Legend of Zelda: A Link
Between Worlds takes place in the same world as its classic
predecessor, it is a new adventure, filled with a new storyline and
new dungeons. In this Nintendo 3DS game, Link must journey between two
worlds, Hyrule and Lorule, using a mysterious power that lets him
become a drawing on walls. Link's ability to merge with walls allows
players to solve puzzles and explore dungeons in a new way. Players
are also able to buy or rent various items throughout the game,
allowing them to explore dungeons in any order they want, adding a new
level of freedom to the game play. For more information about The
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, visit
A legendary Nintendo 3DS XL bundle will also launch on Nov. 22. The
bundle includes gorgeous gold-and-black Nintendo 3DS XL hardware with
the iconic Triforce on the exterior, as well as a download code for
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds at a suggested retail price
of $219.99. The system is gold-colored on one side and black on the
other, beautifully representing the two parallel worlds Link travels
between in the game. For more information and a list of retailers,
With Mario Party: Island Tour, players can take the party on the go!
The game is the next installment in the wildly fun Mario Party series,
and the first on Nintendo 3DS. Mario Party: Island Tour features
mini-games with more unique play styles than any other game in the
Mario Party series. Players will imitate voices of some of the most
iconic characters from the Super Mario Bros. universe using the
built-in microphone on the Nintendo 3DS system, tilt the system to
hang glide and even adjust reality with AR Card play. Mario Party:
Island Tour also features Download Play, which means up to four
Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 2DS owners can play together when in the same
room - even if only one person owns the game! For more information
about Mario Party: Island Tour, visit http://marioparty.com.
Remember that Wii U and Nintendo 3DS feature parental controls that
let adults manage the content their children can access. For more
information about this and other features, visit
http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu and http://www.nintendo.com/3ds.
About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive
entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and
markets hardware and software for its Wii U(TM) and Wii(TM) home
consoles, and Nintendo 3DS(TM) and Nintendo DS(TM) families of
portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo
Entertainment System(TM), Nintendo has sold more than 4.1 billion
video games and more than 659 million hardware units globally,
including the current-generation Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS
XL, as well as the Game Boy(TM), Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS,
Nintendo DSi(TM) and Nintendo DSi XL(TM), Super NES(TM), Nintendo
64(TM), Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Wii systems. It has also created
industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as
Mario(TM), Donkey Kong(TM), Metroid(TM), Zelda(TM) and PokTmon(TM). A
wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond,
Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western
Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the
company's website at http://www.nintendo.com.
Note to editors: Nintendo press materials are available at
http://press.nintendo.com, a password-protected site. To obtain a
login, please contact Deanna Avila at 213-438-8742 or
email@example.com. Users can receive instant Nintendo information
by subscribing to the site's RSS feed.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
CONTACT: GOLIN HARRIS
Kristie Tomkins, 213-438-8830
Jonathan Silverstein, 212-373-6046
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA WASHINGTON
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ENTERTAINMENT ELECTRONIC GAMES TECHNOLOGY CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SOFTWARE CHILDREN CONSUMER FAMILY
Copyright Business Wire 2013
PUB: 11/19/2013 03:56 PM/DISC: 11/19/2013 03:56 PM
Posted 4:51 AM EST on November 19, 2013
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US unemployment falls to 7 pct. on 203K jobs added
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate to a five-year low of 7 percent in November, an encouraging sign for the economy.
AP Photo NYBZ150
Eds: Updates with more details and background. With AP Photos.
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest since early 2012. ...
KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the first 35 years of the Kennedy Center Honors, only two Latinos got medals.
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) -- Baby Jesus is missing -- again.
IN THE NEWS: WOMAN MONITORING SCANNER TRAFFIC LIVE-TWEETS HUSBAND'S DEATH
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- A Washington state woman has had a hobby turn into a tragedy.
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