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Economy Grew At 2.5 Percent Rate In Third Quarter

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates, up from the second quarter's 1.3 percent pace.

It adds that growth picked up a bit thanks to stronger consumer spending, fixed investment, exports and federal spending. Reuters says the news is "a welcome relief for an economy that looked on the brink of recession just weeks ago."

This is just BEA's first estimate of growth in the third quarter. It will revise the figure two more times.

While modest, the 2.5 percent pace is the best growth since third-quarter 2010.

Update at 10:15 a.m ET. Stock Market Rally:

Driven in large part by the news that European leaders have agreed on steps to address the continent's debt crisis, and helped by the modestly good economic news, stocks are on the rise in New York. At this time, the Dow Jones Industrial average is up about 220 points (1.9 percent) and is above the 12,000 mark for the first time since late July.

Update at 8:46 a.m. ET. Jobless Claims:

There were 402,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, almost unchanged from the previous week's 404,000, the Employment and Training Administration says. That's a pace that underscores what's been an ongoing problem for the economy: weak job growth.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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