WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy unexpectedly maintained a brisk pace of growth in the third quarter as an increase in inventory investment and a smaller trade deficit offset a hurricane-related slowdown in consumer spending and a decline in construction.

A construction worker works on the side of a hill along a highway construction project in Encinitas, California, U.S., October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Gross domestic product increased at a 3.0 percent annual rate in the July-September period, also supported by strong business spending on equipment, the

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