The U.S. economy grew 2.6 percent in the third quarter, according to a third estimate by the U.S. Commerce Department, up from the 2.5 percent estimate given in November.

Consumer spending, private inventory investment, exports and non-residential fixed investment, along with federal government spending, contributed positively to the GDP.

The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected a sharp deceleration in imports and an acceleration in private inventory investment that were partly offset by a downturn in residential fixed investment and decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports, the report said.

Consumer expenditures rose 2.4 percent in the third quarter, up from 2.2 percent in the second, indicating that people were willing to spend more despite reports of a slowing economy.

Exports rose 6.8 percent in the quarter, compared to a rise on 9.1 percent in the second.

Imports rose only 16.8 percent, with half of the 33.5 percent growth seen in the previous quarter.