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US economy expands at 4.1 percent rate in third quarter, fastest pace since late 2011

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at ArcelorMittal, a steel mill in Cleveland. The Commerce Department releases final third-quarter gross domestic product on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)The Associated Press

The U.S. economy grew at a solid 4.1 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest pace since late 2011 and significantly higher than previously believed. Much of the upward revision came from stronger consumer spending.

The Commerce Department's final look at growth in the summer was up from a previous estimate of 3.6 percent. Four-fifths of the revision came from stronger consumer spending, primarily in the area of health care.

The 4.1 percent third quarter growth rate came after the economy expanded at a 2.5 percent rate in the second quarter. Much of the acceleration reflected a buildup in business stockpiles.

Economists believe growth has slowed to between 2 percent and 2.5 percent in the current quarter, in part because they believe inventory growth has slowed.