U.S. economic growth higher than expected in Q3

  • The U.S. economy grew more than expected in the three months to September, according to official figures released on Friday.

    The world's biggest economy grew at an annualized rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said.

    The rise was partly attributed to an increase in government spending.

    Federal government expenditures and gross investment rose 9.6 percent compared with the previous quarter, while national defence spending increased by 13 percent. The Commerce Department said there was a jump in personal consumption as well.

    The release of the figures comes less than two weeks before the U.S. presidential election between Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney on November 6.

    With some 20 million Americans out of a job and a huge public deficit, the economy has become one of the key issues of the campaign.

    "While we have more work to do, together with other economic indicators, this report provides further evidence that the economy is moving in the right direction," said Alan Krueger, chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

    Romney was less impressed, saying in a statement: "Slow economic growth means slow job growth and declining take-home pay. This is what four years of President Obama's policies have produced."