NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster pace than previously estimated during the third quarter, as companies boosted inventories and imports slowed. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis' final estimate, seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product rose 2.6%, slightly higher than its previous estimate of 2.5%. Economists were expecting a higher revision to 2.7%, according to consensus estimates from Briefing.com. The U.S. economy expanded 3.7% in the first quarter, then sharply decelerated during the second, growing at a pace of 1.7%. That sparked fears of a double-dip recession. The acceleration of growth in the third quarter has helped abate those concerns. Revisions in the final estimate included a faster than expected rise in business inventories. Private businesses increased inventories $121.4 billion in the third quarter, following increases of $68.8 billion in the second quarter and $44.1 billion in the first. Real final sales of domestic product, which excludes the impact of a build-up in inventories, increased 0.9% in the third quarter, the same increase as in the second. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of GDP, rose 2.4%, less than previously estimated 2.6%. Exports jumped 6.8% in the third quarter, after rising 9.8% in the previous quarter, helped by a weaker dollar. Inflation levels captured by the GDP report remained subdued. The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 0.7% in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage point less than the second estimate. The index increased 0.1% in the second quarter.