(CNBC) The U.S. economy grew at a faster-than-expected rate in the third quarter as inflation was kept in check and consumer spending surged, according to data released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

Gross domestic product expanded by a 3.5 percent annual rate. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the economy to expand by a 3.4 percent annual rate.

The department said the PCE price index, a key measure of inflation, increased by 1.6 percent last quarter, much less than the 2.2 percent increase expected by economists polled by StreetAccount.

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