US GDP surprises with 3% jump in third quarter

WASHINGTON - The US economy, helped by strong business investment, grew at a solid annual rate of 3 percent in the third quarter. It marks the first time in three years that growth has hit at least 3 percent for two consecutive quarters.

The Commerce Department said the July-September advance in the gross domestic product -- the country's total output of goods and services -- followed a 3.1 percent rise in the second quarter. 

It was the strongest two-quarter showing since back-to-back gains of 4.6 percent and 5.2 percent in the second and third quarters of 2014.

The economy accelerated this summer despite the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which many private economists believe shaved at least one-half percentage point off growth. This showing could add pressure to Federal Reserve policymakers to push interest rates higher.