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US Economic Growth Slows to 1.5 Percent

FILE - Sales clerks ring up customers at Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas.

U.S. economic growth slowed in July, August and September, expanding at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent.

Thursday's report from the Commerce Department showed the gross domestic product expanded at less than half the rate of the previous quarter, as consumer and business spending slowed.

GDP measures all the goods and services produced in a nation and is the broadest measure of national economic health.

Other new data show pending home sales declined in September, perhaps suggesting a cooling of housing demand in coming months.

A separate report from the Labor Department was more upbeat, showing that the number of Americans signing up for unemployment assistance remained near a 40-year low.

Economists use jobless claims to track layoffs, and a low level indicates employers have the confidence to hang on to their staff.