Economy grows at 2 percent in 3Q

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The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter as more consumer activity and a healthier housing sector outweighed the effects of the drought, caution from businesses and weaker exports.

The new figure, which the Commerce Department released today, is the government’s first estimate of third-quarter growth, the New York Times reported. The economy grew at a 1.3 percent pace in the second quarter this year and by a 2 percent rate in the first quarter.

The report came amid fears that companies are clamping down on spending in the face of fiscal uncertainty in Washington, a recession in parts of Europe and a deceleration in demand from China.

Some economists fear that all these factors will keep a lid on any pickup in growth in the final quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.

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