Underlying U.S. economic growth remains solid for chemicals and other manufacturing despite anaemic third-quarter growth in gross domestic product, says a top manufacturing economist. David Huether, chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers, believes the subdued 1.6 percent gain in GDP growth masks strong fundamentals in the economy. "It was the housing sector that provided the overall drag," said Huether, referring to the quarter's 17.4 percent drop in home building and purchases. "Excluding residential investment," he continued, "the economy grew by 2.7 percent, nearly identical to the 2.8 percent average pace so far during this recovery." He said there was third-quarter growth in consumer spending, business investment, and goods exports. "With three of the four pillars of the expansion remaining firm, the foundation for continued growth going forward is solid."