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Third Quarter Economic Growth Revised Up Again

The best estimate of how quickly the economy was growing in the third quarter has been revised upward again — a sign that as summer turned into fall things were better than first thought.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis now says gross domestic product grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate from the end of June through September. That's up from the 2.7 percent estimate BEA released last month, and well above its initial report — issued in October — that put the growth rate at 2 percent. Spending by consumers and governments has been greater than previously estimated.

Not all the morning's economic news is that positive, though. The Employment and Training says there were 361,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week — up 17,000 from the week before.

And there's this cautionary note from Bloomberg News about the GDP report:

"The world's largest economy will be hard-pressed to maintain that pace of growth this quarter as global demand cools and companies limit spending and hiring ahead of looming tax increases and spending cuts. While a stronger housing market will provide some cushion, the Federal Reserve is pursuing record stimulus aimed at driving bigger gains for the expansion."

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