U.S. economy only grows 1.5% as global slowdown hits

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NYSE New York Stock Exchange traders

NEW YORK — America’s economy is getting slugged left and right.

The U.S. economy only grew 1.5% between July and September, according to the Commerce Department. Growth slowed a lot compared to a pace of 3.9% in the second quarter this year.

It is also much lower than in the third quarter of 2014, when the economy grew 4.3%.

The global economic slowdown and strong U.S. dollar are weighing down American manufacturing, trade and exports.

The low-growth figure was mostly expected by economists.

However, it’s not all bad news. There are signs of life among American consumers, who make up the majority of U.S. economic activity. Sales at restaurants and car sales continue to pick up steam into the holiday shopping season. Consumer confidence is also higher this year than a year ago.

But U.S. exports have declined this year for the first time since the Great Recession. That’s a troubling trend for big, multinational companies that sell products abroad.

The U.S. dollar has gotten stronger against all major currencies in the past 12 months, making American products more expensive overseas for foreign buyers. At the same time, China’s slowing economy has pushed down economic growth in many emerging markets like Brazil, which are key trade partners with the United States.

Thursday’s figure was the Commerce Department’s first estimate of U.S. economic growth in the third quarter. It will publish two more estimates later this year.