People walk past a store displaying a discount sign in Times Square in New York on Nov. 21, 2014. The National Retail Federation said last month it expects overall holiday sales this year to rise to $616.9 billion, a 4.1 percent increase from last year's level.
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

Economic growth stronger than initially predicted

The U.S. economy grew at a faster clip in the third quarter of this year than initially estimated, the Department of Commerce reported Tuesday, marking the strongest subsequent period of growth in more than 10 years.

The agency raised its gross domestic product estimation for the third quarter to a 3.9% annual rate from the 3.5% first estimated. GDP increased 4.6% in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said. The most recent boost, which spanned the months of July through September, shows improvement in the labor market, increasing domestic energy security and continued low health cost growth, according to the White House. Falling gasoline prices and rising business investments contributed to the positive difference.

The third quarter was the fourth out of the past five during which the economy expanded above a 3.5% rate, according to Reuters, highlighting the ability of the United States to bounce back after the Great Recession.

The latest GDP numbers come amid a period of solid job growth. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs in October. 

The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that President Obama’s executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation will raise the GDP by at least 0.4% over 10 years. Last week, Obama announced the most sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration laws in three decades.

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Economic growth stronger than initially predicted