WASHINGTON — Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter of 2012, according to the advance estimate released by the Commerce Department Friday.

The GDP growth exceeded the 1.8% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and represents an acceleration over the 1.3% pace reported in the final second quarter estimate.

Personal consumption expenditures increased 2% in the third quarter. Excluding food and energy, PCE increased 1.3%, matching the economists' prediction. The increase in real GDP reflected the gain in PCE as well as increases of 9.6% in federal government spending and 14.4% in residential fixed investment, the Commerce Department said.

Those gains were partially offset by decreases of 1.6% in exports and 1.3% in nonresidential fixed investment. State and local spending decelerated 0.1% from the second quarter.

Imports, which are subtracted from the calculation of GDP, decreased 0.2% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said.

The advance estimate is based on data that is "incomplete and subject to further revision," according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. The preliminary estimate, based on more complete data, will be available Nov. 29.

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