US economy grew at 3.2 percent rate in third quarter

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WASHINGTON  — The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate from July through September, slightly slower than previously estimated but still enough to give the country the best back-to-back quarterly growth rates in three years.

The Commerce Department says the third quarter growth was revised down slightly from last month’s estimate of 3.3 percent. The change reflects slightly less spending by consumers, which was offset somewhat by increased spending by state and local governments.

Still, the 3.2 percent growth followed a 3.1 percent gain in the second quarter, the first consecutive quarters that growth has topped 3 percent since 2014.

President Donald Trump has pointed to these gains as evidence his economic program is producing results. Many economists believe GDP growth this quarter could hit 3 percent or better.