Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an annual quarter-over-quarter rate of 3.1% for Q3 2012, according to a third estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis released today [link opens in PDF]. This follows a 1.3% increase in the second quarter and refines the previous estimate of a 2.7% increase for the third quarter.US Real GDP Growth Chart

US Real GDP Growth data by YCharts.

The Bureau noted changes from the second estimate to this one in personal consumption expenditures and imports. The numbers show a moderate 1.6% increase in personal consumption expenditures and a 0.6% decline in imports in the quarter. 

GDP is a way to quantify a country's production of goods and services, and it's officially measured as: GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + (exports-imports). 

Positive contributions for Q3 came mostly from investment (private inventory and residential fixed), federal government spending (+9.5%),  an increase in exports (+1.9%),  and a decrease in imports (-0.6%).  The largest negative pull on GDP came from nonresidential fixed investment (-1.8%). 

The Bureau of Economic Analysis' Q3 2012 GDP estimates have improved with each consecutive release. The advance percent change was released as 2%, the second estimate came in at 2.7%, and this most recent data puts GDP growth up an additional 0.4 percentage points to 3.1%.