The nation's economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported.
The new estimate marks the second time that BEA has revised its third-quarter estimate downward. In its first look, BEA said gross domestic product grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate. Last month, it said the pace was 2 percent.
Still, the third quarter was better than the second — when GDP expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate.
Meanwhile, the Employment and Training Administration just said there were 364,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down 4,000 from the week before. For the past two weeks, claims have been down around levels not seen since the spring of 2008.
Bloomberg News calls that report "a sign that the U.S. labor market is strengthening heading into 2012."