The U.S. economic growth slowed down significantly in the third quarter of 2021 to the lowest level since it began recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic-triggered recession last year.

Data from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released on Thursday, Oct. 28, shows that the nation’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of only 2% in the July-September quarter, the weakest growth since the third quarter of last year.

The third quarter’s expansion declined sharply from the robust growth rate of 6.7% in the second quarter and 6.3% in the first quarter.

The quarter’s modest growth fell short of economists’ estimates of 2.8%, according to Business Insider.

Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, called the report “very disappointing,” but said investors should keep it in perspective.

“As long as the re-opening continues and people go back to their offices, resume business travel (even if at lower than pre-2019 levels), and consumers maintain their spending patterns—all of which are reasonable assumptions and part of our base case—then the economy can continue to grow, and earnings growth can allow stocks to grow into their valuations,” Zaccarelli said.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the new data reflected the decreases in residential fixed investment, federal government spending, and exports. However, it was partly offset by the increases in private inventory investment, personal consumption expenditures, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment.

The deceleration comes as disappointing news for those who have expected a better economic rebound because of improvement in the country’s health situation. Following widespread vaccination, COVID-19 cases are declining, and more Americans are venturing out to spend money, airlines passenger traffic is increasing, businesses are investing more, and wages are increasing.

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