US economy grew at a moderate 2.1% annual rate last quarter

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a moderate 2.1% rate over the summer, slightly faster than first estimated. But many economists say they think growth is slowing sharply in the current quarter.

The Commerce Department says the July-September growth rate in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services slightly exceeded its initial estimate of a 1.9% rate.

The economy had begun the year with a sizzling 3.1% GDP rate. Many economists have estimated that GDP growth is weakening in the current quarter to as slow as a sub-1% annual rate, largely because the U.S.-China trade war has led businesses to cut investment and inventories.

Still, the holiday shopping season is expected to be relatively healthy given solid job growth and consumer spending.