U.S. economy posts best growth in three years

Fed pick: Banks are not too big to fail
Fed pick: Banks are not too big to fail

The U.S. economy picked up more momentum last summer than originally thought.

It grew 3.3% on an annual basis between July and September, according to revised numbers published Wednesday by the Commerce Department. The initial reading on third quarter growth was 3.0%.

That marks the best quarter of growth since in 2014 when the economy grew 5.2% during the same period. An increase in exports, as well as a pick up in business and consumer spending, contributed to the improved growth.

President Trump promises to get U.S. economic growth for an entire year up above 3%, something that hasn't happened since 2005. Economists say the U.S. will likely not achieve 3% growth for 2017 because the first three months of the year were sluggish. First quarter growth was 1.2%. For the first nine months of this year, the U.S. is averaging 2.5% growth.

The Federal Reserve forecasts that U.S. growth will hover around 2% for the foreseeable future. A mix of factors, such as sluggish wage and productivity growth, along with millions of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce to retire, have held back economic growth since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

Still, the U.S. economy is on sound footing. Unemployment is 4.1%, the lowest since 2000. Jobs have been added for 84 consecutive months, the longest streak on record.

Growth has been slow but steady since 2009, one of the longest expansions in history. Wage growth and inflation haven't risen as many economists expected they would. The lack of both is considered an economic mystery.

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