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GDP inches up 2 percent in third quarter

The U.S. economy showed growth in the third quarter, but the gain was weak and not sufficient to make a dent in the nation's high unemployment rate.

Gross domestic product, the economy's broadest measure, grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the three months that ended in September, the Commerce Department said today. GDP grew 1.7 percent in the second quarter.

"Growth is still positive but a bit disappointing. It's not where we would like it to be at this point of the recovery," Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Fla., told Reuters.

Consumers gave the economy a boost, increasing their spending by 2.6 percent in the quarter. The quarterly increase was the largest since a 4.1 percent gain that came at the end of 2006. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

Analysts expect Federal Reserve officials to announce bond purchases next week to push borrowing costs lower and spur businesses to expand investment and hiring.

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