Posted at 16:26h in The Friday BriefThe rear-view mirror shows the economy continued to expand in the third quarter. US Gross Domestic Product increased to a 3.8% annual rate, more than predicted, despite higher energy prices, rising interest rates, and two devastating hurricanes. Consumer purchases of automobiles and slower growth in imports contributed to the increase. Housing was also a significant contributor, but it is slowing. Residential fixed investment grew 8.9% in the third quarter, down from 10.9% in the previous quarter. Federal government spending went up 7.7% in the third quarter, significantly higher than the 2.4% growth in each of the previous two quarters.