US economy sees growth pick up

Chrysler production line in US US economic growth was lifted by rising exports

The US economy grew at an annual pace of 2.8% in the third quarter of the year, latest figures have shown.

The growth rate was faster than expected, and was an improvement on the 2.5% pace seen in the previous quarter.

Growth was lifted by rising exports, businesses restocking shelves and a pick-up in home construction.

However, the pace of growth in consumer spending - which accounts for about two-thirds of US economic activity - slowed from the previous quarter.

Consumer spending grew at annual pace of 1.5%, down from 1.7% in the April-to-June period and the slowest rate since 2011.

The release of the third-quarter GDP figures was delayed by a week because of the partial shutdown of the US government last month.

Chris Thornberg, partner at Beacon Economics, said he thought 2.8% was a "good number".

"You have got to remember at the start of the year there was a $2.8bn tax increase after the fiscal cliff," he said. That, he said, had taken a 1.8% "bite out of consumer income".

Mr Thornberg added: "The only thing that worries me is that some of the growth is coming from inventory build-up, about 0.8%."

The inventory build-up refers to products that have been produced but yet sold, such as cars, he said.

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