JUST IN: U.S. Economy Grew By 2% in Third Quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy expanded at a slightly faster 2 percent annual rate from July through September, helped by a rise in consumer spending and a burst of government spending.
The report is the last snapshot of economic growth before Americans choose a president in 11 days.
The Commerce Department says growth improved from the 1.3 percent rate in the April-June quarter.
The pickup in growth may help President Barack Obama's message that the economy is improving. Still, growth remains too weak to rapidly boost hiring. And the 1.74 percent rate for 2012 trails last year's 1.8 percent growth, a point Republican rival Mitt Romney will emphasize.
Growth was held back by the first drop in exports in more than three years and flat business investment in equipment and software