EPB smart grid keeps most of the lights on in Chattanooga area

More than 3,400 EPB customers temporarily lost power during Monday night's thunderstorm, but the city-owned utility estimates the outages would have been at least three times greater if EPB didn't have its smart grid, which uses fiber-optic links and intelligent fault interruptors to monitor and control power flows.

EPB was able to restore power to nearly all of its 160,000 customers Tuesday after high winds and rain knocked down trees and some power connections across its service territory.

"The smart grid kept the power on for about 8,100 homes and businesses that would have experienced an outage either by preventing the outage or automatically restoring service," EPB spokesman John Pless said.

EPB kept crews working overnight to continue repairing damage.

U.S. economy grew 3.2 percent in third quarter

The U.S. economy in the third quarter grew at the fastest pace in two years, with a revised report showing stronger consumer spending than first estimated.

The gross domestic product, the country's total output of goods and services, expanded at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the July-September period, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The 3.2 percent increase was expected to be the best showing for the year.

Economists believe growth has slowed to about 2 percent in the current quarter. They forecast growth of about 2 percent to 2.5 percent for 2017.

Consumer confidence highest in nine years

U.S. consumer confidence rebounded this month to the highest level in more than nine years.

The Conference Board said Tuesday its consumer confidence index registered 107.1 in November, up from 100.8 last month and the highest since July 2007.

The survey was mostly taken before the Nov. 8 election. Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said "it appears from the small sample of post-election responses that consumers' optimism was not impacted by the outcome."

The index had fallen in October and was expected to rise this month, but the strength of the rebound took economists by surprise.

Bank earnings up 13 percent in third quarter

U.S. banks' earnings in the July-September period jumped nearly 13 percent from a year earlier as continued growth in lending fueled interest income.

The data issued Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed strength in the banking industry more than eight years after the financial crisis struck. However, the effect of low oil prices on energy companies led banks to continue to post bigger losses on commercial and industrial loans. Some energy companies have struggled to repay loans, causing distress for banks in oil and gas producing regions.

Thanksgiving weekend sales rise 9 percent

Shoppers put in a strong showing on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Holiday spending rose 9 percent Thursday and Friday combined, compared with the same two-day period last year, according to First Data. The bump was fueled by shoppers turning to online deals.

E-commerce sales rose 10.8 percent for the two-day period, while sales at physical stores grew 8.6 percent, according to First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments across different forms of payment cards from nearly 1 million merchants Thanksgiving and Friday. The data captures about 40 percent of all card transactions in the U.S. but excludes cash.

Airbus plans to cut 1,100 jobs in Europe

Airbus wants to cut more than 1,100 jobs across Europe as it consolidates its activities and seeks to better compete with U.S. rival Boeing and others amid growing global demand for planes.

Airbus Group, parent of the plane maker, faces months of negotiations with unions after presenting a reorganization plan to the works council Tuesday in Toulouse, France.

Airbus, which has about 136,000 employees worldwide, hopes to make the cuts through voluntary departures, early retirement and relocating positions — but might resort to layoffs if necessary.

McDonald's tests fresh beef in some burgers

McDonald's is testing the use of fresh, never frozen beef for its Quarter Pounder hamburgers.

The fast food giant said the tests are being carried out in 75 of its restaurants in the Tulsa, Okla., area. It said Quarter Pounders in the restaurants will be made with fresh beef that's cooked when ordered.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's said it got positive feedback recently from a similar test in the Dallas area.

McDonald's said it has been making "significant enhancements" to its food. It said that over the past 18 months it has removed high fructose corn syrup from its buns and stopped using margarine in favor of butter.