The U.S. economy is strong even though third-quarter GDP will not be stellar, RBS' Michelle Girard said Monday.
Economists expect third-quarter GDP — due Thursday — to come in at 1.4 percent, well below the final second-quarter reading of 3.9 percent, according to a Dow Jones estimate.
"I think the U.S. economy is stronger than the credit it's getting," Girard, RBS' chief U.S. economist, told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "The private domestic economy — if you look at consumer and business spending and housing — has been growing better than 3 percent."
"Thursday's GDP number is not going to look good on the surface, but if you look at consumer spending and housing and business spending, the numbers are going to be closer to 4 percent."
Last week, the Commerce Department said U.S. housing starts rose 6.5 percent month over month. Existing home sales rose more than expected in September to the second-highest monthly sales pace since February 2007.