U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter of this year, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Friday. The growth rate was an acceleration from 1.3 percent in the second quarter, and was slightly stronger than market expectations. The increase of the nation\'s real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), federal government spending, and residential fixed investment, said the department. Real personal consumption expenditures rose 2 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in the second quarter, reported the department. Personal consumption accounted for about 70 percent of the total economic activity in the world\'s largest economy. Real residential fixed investment gained 14.4 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 8.5 percent in the second quarter. Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment increased 9.6 percent in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 0.2 percent in the second quarter, noted the report. In the July-September period, real exports of goods and services decreased 1.6 percent, in contrast to an increase of 5.3 percent in the second quarter. The key economic numbers came less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 presidential election day in the United States.