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US economy shows some muscle, but outlook downbeat

Published on Dec 21, 2012 8:26 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US economy grew faster than previously thought in the third quarter, helped by exports and government spending, but a sluggish world economy and belt-tightening by Washington looks set to put on the brakes again.

Other data on Thursday showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region picked up this month, while home resales last month were the best in three years, indicating the economy retained some vigour early in the fourth quarter.

However, a rise in first-time applications for unemployment aid last week suggested job growth remains modest.

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a 3.1 per cent annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said. It was the fastest pace since late 2011 and more than double the second quarter's 1.3 per cent rate.

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