Even with the increase from a 1.3 percent growth rate in the April-June quarter, the economy remains too weak to rapidly boost job creation.
The report Friday from the Commerce Department is the last broad snapshot of the economy before Americans choose a president in 11 days.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney has attacked President Barack Obama's handling of the economy and has noted that growth has slowed from last year. The 1.74 percent annual growth rate for the first nine months of 2012 remains slightly behind last year's 1.8 percent growth. That, in turn, trailed 2010's growth of 2.4 percent.
Obama has argued that the economy is steadily improving. Analysts cautioned, though, that Friday's report offered few signs that economic growth is gaining momentum.
"We suspect that growth will slow a little in the fourth quarter and expect it to remain close to 2 percent next year," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. Read more...