One-Two Hurricane Punch Hits Third-Quarter U.S. Growth Outlook

The U.S. is bracing for another huge storm and economists are cutting their growth projections, anticipating that the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas will be compounded by the expected damage in Florida from Irma.

IHS Markit Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh reduced his estimate for gross domestic product expansion this quarter by about 1.1 percentage points to a 2.1 percent annual rate, citing Harvey, a flattening oil-rig count and the weak construction report for July. Fourth-quarter GDP growth will get a 0.4 percentage-point boost to reach 2.7 percent, and “damage from Hurricane Irma could exacerbate this growth volatility,” Behravesh and his team said in a note Thursday. Bank of America Corp. economists on Friday trimmed their tracking estimate for this quarter by 0.4 percentage point to 2.5 percent, citing Harvey and saying that Irma “may be an additional drag.”

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