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GDP Posts Strong 3.5 Percent Growth Rate In 3rd Quarter

The U.S. economy grew at the solid pace of 3.5 percent for the third quarter, helped along by gains in business investment, exports and a big jump in military spending, the Commerce Department says.

The latest GDP number for the July-to-September period was better than economists had expected. It follows a 4.6 percent jump for the April-to-June quarter (originally reported as a 4 percent rate increase but later revised upward.)

By contrast, the economy shrank at a 2.1 percent rate in the first three months of the year as a result of a harsh winter.

The Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a statement:

"The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased."

According to The Associated Press:

"Analysts believe the economy is maintaining momentum in the current quarter, with a big fall in gas prices expected to bolster consumer spending. After the roller-coaster first- and second-quarter gyrations, the economy is poised to achieve consistently stronger growth for the rest of this year and all of 2015."

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