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U.S. Economy Expands for First Time in a Year

The U.S. economy expanded in the third quarter of 2009 for the first time in more than a year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The nation's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent from the period of July through September; GDP is defined as the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States. The Commerce Department says the third-quarter increase was due primarily to a rise in consumer spending, along with positive numbers in exports, federal government spending, and investment. The increase was higher than the average forecast from economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who predicted a 3.2 percent jump. The increase was the first since the second quarter of 2008, and is being interpreted by experts as an unofficial confirmation that the recession is over; the National Bureau of Economic Research has the final word on the start and end dates of the recession, and that organization has not weighed in. Commerce says this first estimate is based on incomplete data and subject to revision in an update to be released on November 24.

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