Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics, said that the final look at third quarter GDP did offer hope that growth will strengthen in coming months, given the greater strength in consumer spending.
Congress gave final approval Wednesday to legislation that reduces federal spending cuts and averts the risk of another government shutdown early next year. The prospect of less fiscal drag next year has led many economists to predict a better year for the economy in 2014.
A stronger outlook for the economy and job market prompted the Federal Reserve this week to begin winding down its bond-buying program, which was intended to lower long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending.
The Fed said Wednesday that it would begin reducing its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases by $10 billion in January. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that if the economy keeps improving, the bond purchases will be trimmed by similar amounts at coming meetings next year.