Good news for the holiday season: The U.S. economy expanded at a two percent annual rate from July to September, slightly faster than the 1.3 percent rate in the last quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. While the growth was modest, the factors contributing to it—an uptick in consumer and defense spending—are encouraging. With the election just two weeks away, it’s a number that both presidential candidates will attempt to spin in their favor. Obama will say that it proves his economic plan is working. Romney will point out that the 1.74 percent rate for 2012 so far is lower than last year’s 1.8 percent growth, and is still too weak to boost hiring.
RECOVERY Spencer Platt / Getty Images