The U.S. economy grew slightly faster in the third quarter than the second, but still too slow to cause employers to ramp up hiring. Spending by Americans rose at a 2.6 percent rate, up slightly from 2.2 percent in the previous quarter, and up from 1.9 percent in the first quarter. Still, consumer spending is far below what it was following previous U.S. recessions, and much of that spending continued to be on foreign goods and services. The combination of a weak economy and inflation below 2 percent is likely to lead the Fed to announce more bond purchases next week. Inflation may actually be slowing down. The Fed’s measure, the price index for personal consumption, rose .8 percent in the third quarter compared with the second quarter’s 1 percent.