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Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy grew at a 1.9% annualized pace in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday — higher than the 1.6% economists expected.

Why it matters: The economy is still growing at a moderate clip, though the number marks a significant slowdown in growth from just the beginning of this year — when GDP jumped 3.1% — as the boost from President Trump's tax cuts fades and the U.S.-China trade war weighs on growth.

Between the lines: The U.S. consumer has been the saving grace of the U.S. economy in recent quarters as cautious businesses hold off on spending.

  • The report shows this trend is continuing, though the strength of the U.S. shopper faltered. Consumer spending grew at 2.9% annual rate in Q3, a slowdown from the 4.6% rate in Q2.
  • Meanwhile, business spending weighed on growth, as investments in things like buildings, equipment and software fell 3%.

The bottom line: Q3's GDP report shows a slowing but still healthy economy — bucking fears of an imminent recession for now.

  • Still, it’s the second-worst GDP read of the Trump presidency, and growth has tapered sequentially this year.
  • A further slowdown would mean one less economic indicator the president can lean on as the 2020 election gets underway.

Go deeper: Trump's economic shield against impeachment

Go deeper

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

8 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

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