Reporting from Washington — In a small but still encouraging sign that the economic recovery has picked up, the government has revised its estimate of third-quarter growth slightly upward to an annualized rate of 2.6%.
The figure is up from the previous estimate of 2.5%, although it came in at less than the median projection of 2.8% in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the higher growth rate of gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the United States — was based on updated information showing more spending by consumers, businesses and the federal government, as well as increased exports.
The department's Bureau of Economic Analysis initially estimated that GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2% from July through September — weak growth but still an improvement over the 1.7% rate in the second quarter.
In the first of two standard revisions to those quarterly figures, the bureau estimated last month that third-quarter GDP was growing at an annual rate of 2.5%.
Even with the revisions, the economy is still moving at too slow a pace to bring down the high unemployment rate, which jumped to 9.8% nationally last month despite continued modest job growth.