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Date published: 10/27/2012
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON--The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster 2 percent annual rate from July through September, buoyed by more spending by consumers and the federal government.
Even with the increase from a 1.3 percent growth rate in the April-June quarter, the economy remains too weak to rapidly boost job creation.
The report Friday from the Commerce Department is the last broad snapshot of the economy before Americans choose a president in 11 days.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney has attacked President Barack Obama's handling of the economy and has noted that growth has slowed from last year. The 1.74 percent annual growth rate for the first nine months of 2012 remains slightly behind last year's 1.8 percent growth. That, in turn, trailed 2010's growth of 2.4 percent.
Obama has argued that the economy is steadily improving. Analysts cautioned, though, that Friday's report offered few signs that economic growth is gaining momentum.
"We suspect that growth will slow a little in the fourth quarter and expect it to remain close to 2 percent next year," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
The economy grew faster last quarter in part because consumer spending rose at a 2 percent annual rate, up from a 1.5 percent rate in the second quarter. Spending on home building and renovations increased at an annual rate of more than 14 percent.
And federal spending surged, mainly because of the sharpest increase in defense spending in more than three years.
Growth was held back by the first drop in exports in more than three years and flat business investment in equipment and software.