December 5, 2013 10:25 AM, EST

Economy Grows at 3.6% Rate in Third Quarter

Polar Corp.

The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.6% annual rate in the third quarter, up from an initial estimate of 2.8% growth, the Commerce Department said Dec. 5.

The gross domestic product reading was higher than economists’ median forecast of a 3.1% rate, Bloomberg News reported.

The rise was led by an increase in business inventories to a $116.5 billion annual pace in the third quarter, the most since 1998, after a previously reported $86 billion rate.

GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced.

“The big boost is from inventories, but the big question for fourth-quarter growth is whether this is voluntary inventory expansion or involuntary,” Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities, told Bloomberg.

“We won’t have an outright drawdown, but we will have slower inventory investment, and that slowing will be a negative for growth,” Coffin said.

The Dec. 5 GDP report is the second of three issued for each quarter by Commerce.