The economy grew 2.2 percent in the third quarter, led by exports of goods, investment in fixed assets and more robust consumer spending, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday. It was the second-consecutive quarter that gross domestic product has risen. "The macroeconomic data shows that the economy is in good shape," Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said Monday at a conference. "However, the rate of growth has not yet reached the level at which it can have a significant impact on unemployment. "We are seeing that exports are recovering faster than imports, mainly due to the success of hi-tech exports. The quick recovery [of exports] is one of the reasons for the relative fast recovery of the Israeli economy compared to other countries around the world." GDP expanded at a 2.2% annualized rate in seasonally adjusted terms in the July-September period, after growing 1% in the second quarter and contracting 3.2% in the first quarter. The Bank of Israel expects the economy to be flat this year and grow 2.5% in 2010. Business-sector growth rose 1.6% in the third quarter, after growing 1.1% in the second quarter and contracting 4.9% in the first quarter. The statistics bureau attributed third-quarter growth to a 5% increase (annualized rate of 21.8%) in exports of goods and services, up from 3.5% (annualized rate of 14.6%) in the second quarter. Imports of goods and services rose by 12.8% (annualized rate of 61.9%) in the third quarter, up from 1.2% (annualized rate of 4.8%) in the second quarter. Consumer spending also increased for a second-consecutive quarter. Consumer spending in the third quarter grew 8.9%, compared with a rise of 5.2% in the second quarter. Per-capita consumer spending was up 6.9% in the third quarter and 6.4% in the second quarter, after falling 5.2% in the first quarter. The surge in per-capita consumer spending in the third quarter was led by an annualized 51.5% increase in purchases of durables, including refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and cars, following growth of 19.6% in the second quarter. Investment in fixed assets, including housing, construction and transportation, rose by an annualized 23.2% in the third quarter, up from 2.7% in the second quarter.