Real gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.5% in the third quarter when compared to the previous three months, the Commerce Department said Thursday. GDP is the government's measure of all goods and services produced in the United States. Comparatively, GDP rose at a rate of just 1.3% in the second quarter. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected GDP growth at a rate of 2.5% for the third quarter with a range of estimates between 1.8% and 3.5%. Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said the acceleration in growth "would seem to make a mockery of fears that emerged fairly early in the quarter that the economy was entering a recession." "Nevertheless, we still expect growth to slow again over the next couple of quarters and, while our baseline forecast does not include an outright contraction, we expect GDP growth to average a very lackluster 1.5% next year," he said. The Commerce Department attributed the higher GDP growth rate to increased personal consumption, nonresidential fixed investments, exports and federal government spending. The results released Thursday are an advanced estimate and are subject to further review and possible changes, the Commerce Department said. The final GDP report for the third quarter is scheduled to be published on Nov. 22. Write to Kerri Panchuk.