Third quarter GDP inched up 1.5%, slightly weaker-than-expected.

“Coupled with an average growth rate of 2.3% in the first half, the U.S. economy is tracking 2% across the first nine months of the year, slightly below the 2.2% trend rate since the end of the Great Recession,” Lindsey Piegza, chief economist with Stifel, said in an industry report.  

Piegza said that the bottom line is that while there is a disappointing topline reading on domestic activity, the composition suggests a slightly more positive story. 

The good news is that consumers were still out spending July to September, and businesses were still investing.

However, Piegza added, “The question remains: will the US economy continue to bleed momentum as we round out the final quarter of the year? After all, without a marked improvement in hiring and positive income growth, will consumers be able to maintain even a modest pace of spending?”

On Wednesday, the Fed said that it would not raise the federal funds rate this month, citing the fact that the country’s economy still has not met the targets laid out by the Federal Open Markets Committee.

 “From the Fed’s perspective, the outlook remains unclear.  Whether we include or exclude inventory growth, the economy continues to track a tepid 2% pace, arguably the bare minimum for an economy reaping the benefits of near zero interest rates for the past six years,” said Piegza.