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New figures released by the Department of Commerce show the U.S. economy saw what were deemed modest gains in the third quarter, at a rate of 2.5 percent. "That was a big acceleration from the 1.3 percent pace in the April-June quarter and matched economists' expectations," wrote Reuters in a brief analysis. According to the Department's news release (via BI):

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011 (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter) according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent.

CNN Money singles out stronger consumer spending ("personal consumption jumped to a 2.4% growth rate") and increased business spending ("investment in equipment and software, a good barometer of that reading, spiked to a 17.4% growth rate") as hopeful indicators. 

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