Washington– The US’ economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent in the third quarter, down slightly from the 4.2 per cent growth rate registered in the previous quarter, the government said on Friday.

The report was the Commerce Department’s first of three estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth between July and September.

Consumer spending (which accounts for two-thirds of US economic activity) increased by 4 per cent, its fastest rate in nearly four years, Efe news reported.

Even though GDP growth slowed relative to the previous quarter, this latest figure showed the continued strength of the world’s largest economy, the report said.

The US’ GDP expanded by 2.5 per cent in the first quarter and by 4.2 per cent between April and June.

This latest figure, however, still does reflect the anticipated negative impact from the tariffs President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed on the majority of Washington’s trading partners, including China and the EU.

Trump has promised to achieve annual growth rates of 3 per cent, in part through a sweeping tax overhaul he signed into law last December that lowers levies on US corporations and — to a lesser extent — many ordinary Americans.

The sustained economic improvement, including a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.7 per cent, its lowest level in nearly 50 years — has led the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate three times this year.

The central bank in September hiked its federal-funds rate to its current target range of between 2 per cent and 2.25 per cent. (IANS)