U.S. economy is reaching a crossroads

The latest revision of third quarter GDP finds the U.S. economy growing even faster than we'd thought this summer -- 3.1 percent.

The latest revision of third quarter GDP finds the U.S. economy growing even faster than we'd thought this summer -- 3.1 percent.

The good news, according to Diane Swonk, chief economist as Mesirow Financial, is that consumers spent more than initially estimated last month, and there was more housing activity.

There is a downside as well, she adds.

"Investment -- that backbone of our future growth -- actually declined," explains Swonk. That means the underlying growth pattern going into the fourth quarter is fairly weak.

"We're at a fork in the road," she adds. "We could be going on a much stronger path, but that all depends on fiscal policy and the fiscal debate that's playing out right now in Washington."

About the author

Diane Swonk is chief economist with Mesirow Financial, based in Chicago.

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