US growth up, but not enough to help Obama

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US growth up, but not enough to help Obama

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Better than expected, but not enough of an improvement to help Barack Obama in the closely contested race for the White House.

The last US economic growth figures to be released before the presidential election show a pick up, but give Obama little to crow about.

GDP – the value of all goods and services produced in the US – expanded at a 2.0 percent annual rate between July and September, accelerating from the second quarter’s 1.3 percent pace.

That makes the average for the first nine months of the year 1.77 percent.

A pace in excess of 2.5 percent is needed over several quarters to make substantial headway cutting the jobless rate.

The improvement in the latest figures comes to a great extent from consumer spending.

Americans went on somewhat of a shopping spree as the quarter wound down, buying a range of goods – including cars and the latest Apple’s iPhone.

The economy is the top issue in the upcoming election.

These numbers will let Obama claim things are improving, while challenger Mitt Romney can argue the growth is not fast enough.