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Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, the Department of Commerce said Thursday.

Driving the news: The gross domestic product figures for July through September come in much lower than the 6.7% increase in the second quarter, reflecting the "continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce.

  • The figures released Thursday also come in lower than the 2.8% expected by economists. Other estimates were higher: FactSet's consensus was a 3.5% increase.

The big picture: Thursday's modest GDP increase is the slowest gain since the 31.2% decline in the second quarter of 2020, when COVID-19 became a global pandemic.

  • The GDP reflects declines in residential fixed investment, federal government spending and exports, per the department.
  • Consumer spending increased at 1.6% during the third quarter, after rising 12% in the second quarter.

What to watch: Thursday's GDP estimates are based on source data that are "incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency," per the Department of Commerce.

  • A second estimate for the third quarter with more complete data will be released on Nov. 24.

Go deeper: Economists set 2021 sights lower

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2021 - Health

Pregnant people with COVID face higher risk for stillbirths, CDC data show

Clinicians care for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on Aug. 10, 2021 in Louisiana. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pregnant people who are infected with COVID-19 face a greater risk of experiencing a stillbirth compared with uninfected people, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released on Friday show.

Driving the news: The data found that of the 8,154 stillbirths documented between March 2020 and September 2021, 1.26% of deliveries among people with COVID-19 resulted in stillbirth, compared to 0.65% of deliveries among uninfected individuals.

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.