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US Economic Growth Speeds Up

A woman and child leave a mall with purchases in Culver City, Calif., (File).

The U.S. economy grew faster in July, August, and September, as consumers stepped up spending.

Thursday's report from the Commerce Department says the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter.

That is the fastest rate in a year, and a big improvement over the previous three-month period.

A separate report showed more trouble in the housing market as the number of pending sales of previously-owned homes declined in September. It is the third month in a row such sales have declined. Experts blame the decline on high unemployment and banks tightening the standards for mortgage loans.

Other data published Thursday showed that the number of Americans signing up for unemployment assistance declined slightly last week

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.