The Commerce Department issued the first of three estimates of how the U.S. economy performed in the July-September quarter. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in two years in the third quarter as a surge in exports and a rebound in inventory investment offset a slowdown in consumer spending. Gross domestic product increased at a 2.9 percent annual rate after rising at a 1.4 percent pace in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday in its first estimate.Consumer spending still supported the economy in the third quarter, even as the pace slowed from the second quarter's robust 4.3 percent rate.Data Friday from the labor department showed labor costs rose 0.6 percent in the third quarter after a similar gain in the second quarter, leaving the year-on-year rate of increase at 2.3 percent.Spending on nonresidential structures, which include oil and gas wells, increased at a 5.4 percent rate in the third quarter, the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2014, after falling at a 2.1 percent pace in the second quarter.
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