WASHINGTON – White House economist Ben Bernanke (search) said on Wednesday that the administration expects the hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast (search) to shave up to 1 percentage point from the U.S. growth rate (search) in the third quarter, but that there was little chance of a recession.
"There are various estimates about the third quarter impact," Bernanke told reporters. "Our CEA (Council of Economic Advisers) numbers are somewhere between a half and one percentage point on growth. That would still probably leave us at a decent rate of growth for the third quarter."
Bernanke said he expects the U.S. growth rate to bounce back starting in the fourth quarter, which begins October 1. "We see that coming back in the fourth quarter and going on into next year," he said.
"I don't see any significant risk of a recession. I think consumer spending is going to remain strong, underlying momentum is good, income/job creation is good and, of course, the rebuilding itself is going to create jobs and activity," he added.