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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

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Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.