(CNSNews.com) - With the Bureau of Economic Analysis announcing today that, according to its second estimate, real Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the third quarter--following a second quarter rate of 3.1 percent--the United States took a step toward doing something it has not done in more than 12 years: seeing the economy grow at an annual rate of 3.0 percent or better in three straight quarters.
That milestone would be reached if real GDP were to grow at a rate of 3.0 percent or better in the fourth quarter of this year.
The last time real GDP grew at an annualized rate of 3.0 percent or better for at least three straight quarters was in 2004-2005, according to data published by BEA.
In each of the four quarters from the second quarter of 2004 through the first quarter of 2005, real GDP grew at an annual rate that exceeded 3.0 percent.
In the first quarter of 2004, it grew at a rate of 2.3 percent. But then in the second quarter of that year, it grew at a rate of 3.0 percent; followed by 3.7 percent in the third quarter of 2004; 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004; and 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2005.
In the second quarter of 2005, it dropped back to 2.1 percent.
Similarly, the United States has seen eleven full calendar years pass without seeing real GDP grow by 3.0 percent for the year.
In 2004, real GDP grew by 3.8 percent for the year; and, in 2005, it grew by 3.3 percent. Since then, the greatest growth in real GDP came in 2015, when it reached 2.9 percent.
In 2016, it grew by only 1.5 percent.
During his eight years in office, President Barack Obama never saw a year when real GDP grew by 3.0 percent or better.