By PAUL WISEMAN
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite high interest rates and chronic inflation, the U.S. economy grew at a 2.9% annual rate from July through September, the government said Wednesday in an upgrade from its initial estimate.Last quarter’s rise in the U.S. gross domestic product — the economy’s total output of goods and services — followed two straight quarters of contraction. That decline in output had raised fears that the economy might have slipped into a recession in the first half of the yea. Since then, though, most signs have pointed to a resilient if slow-moving economy, .Wednesday’s government report showed that the restoration of growth in the July-September period was led by solid gains in exports and consumer spending that was slightly stronger than originally reported.