“If the U.S. economy looks a little merrier this December, its Santa Claus will be the iPhone 5,” Tim Mullaney and Jefferson Graham report for USA Today.

“U.S. sales of Apple’s latest must-have gadget could pump more than $3 billion into the economy by year’s end, say some economists and technology analysts,” Mullaney and Graham report. “All told, the iPhone 5 could add a quarter-percentage point to the U.S. economy’s growth in the next three months, says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.”

Mullaney and Graham report, “Even with the iPhone’s contribution, the U.S. economy is only expected to grow at a weak annual rate of 2% to 2.5% in the October-December period, Zandi says. JPMorgan Chase estimates a 2% growth rate. But it should counter the negative effects of this summer’s drought on consumer spending growth.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jamie H.” for the heads up.]