U.S. economy grew 5% in third quarter -- fastest rate in 11 years

New Commerce Department figures show growth even stronger than first reported

Published December 23, 2014 2:15PM (EST)

                           (AP/Susan Walsh)
(AP/Susan Walsh)

The U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in more than a decade in the third quarter.

According to Commerce Department figures released Tuesday, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a 5 percent annual rate during the July to September period, the strongest pace since the summer of 2003. The latest figure marks an upward revision from the department's original estimate that the economy grew 3.9 percent during the period.

The 5 percent third quarter growth rate came after GDP grew 4.6 percent in the second quarter. The economy has now had its strongest consecutive quarters of growth since 2003.

Economists project that the economy will grow at a 2.5 percent rate during the fourth quarter of the year and forecast 3 percent growth in 2015, which would mark the strongest rate in a decade.

While the recovery from the Great Recession has been halting at times, the new figures represent the latest sign that a more robust recovery may be underway. Last month, U.S. employers added 321,000 jobs, while wages also grew at a stronger-than-expected pace.

By Luke Brinker

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Commerce Department Economic Growth Economic Policy Gross Domestic Product U.s. Economy