That follows growth (at annual rates) of 1.3 percent in the second quarter and 2 percent in the first.
At 2 percent, the third-quarter estimate is a bit better than the 1.8 percent that economists were expecting, Bloomberg News says. But this is just the first of three estimates of third-quarter growth, and it's likely there will be revisions in coming months.
In 2011, GDP expanded at:
— A scant 0.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter.
— 2.5 percent in the second quarter.
— 1.3 percent in the third.
— 4.1 percent in the fourth.
The economy, of course, is the top issue in this year's presidential campaign. The last major economic news due before Election Day on Nov. 6 is the October employment report, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release next Friday — Nov. 2 — at 8:30 a.m. ET.