PhotoIt appears three is the charm when it comes to the nation's economy.

The Commerce Department reports its third and final look at how things were going in the third quarter shows real gross domestic product (GDP) -- the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy -- expanded at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter. That's the best clip in two years.

The government had previously reported a growth rate of 3.2% based on less source data than was available for this latest reading. GDP performed less robustly in the second quarter, growing at a rate of just 1.4%.

The third quarter increase in real GDP primarily reflects contributions from consumer spending, exports, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and federal government spending.

The acceleration in growth came from an upturn in private inventory investment, stronger exports, a smaller decline in state and local government spending, a turnaround in federal government spending, and a smaller dip in residential investment.

Inflation and profits

A price index tied to GDP was up 1.5% in the July—September period, compared with a 2.1% increase in the second quarter. Stripping out the volatile food and energy categories, the “core” PCE rose 1.7%, versus an advance of 1.8% in the previous three months.

Corporate profits reversed course in the third quarter, rising $117.8 billion after falling $12.5 billion in the second quarter.

The complete report may be found on the Commerce Department website.

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