U.S. economic growth picked up in the second quarter of the year.
Gross domestic product, a broad measure of goods and services produced in the U.S., rose at a 2.6% annual rate in the April to June period, the Commerce Department said Friday. Figures are adjusted for inflation and seasonality.
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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an increase of 2.7%.
The second-quarter advance is a welcome rebound after a lackluster start to the year, when GDP grew at only 1.2% pace. It's less clear if stronger growth is a sign of momentum or simply repeating a familiar pattern of weak winters followed by a stronger spring and summer.
The U.S. emerged from the last recession in mid-2009. Eight years later, the country has entered the third-longest but also the slowest expansion since World War II, with GDP growth averaging a little over 2%. By comparison, growth averaged 3.6% during a 10-year span in the 1990s and 4.9% during a nearly nine-year stretch in the 1960s, the only two expansions with longer durations.
President Donald Trump, who took office in late January, has pledged to return the nation to the above-3% growth.
Details within Friday's report were generally positive.
Both consumers and businesses helped propel growth in the second quarter.
Household outlays rose at a 2.8% pace, an improvement from the first quarter's 1.9%. Consumers stepped up spending on both goods and services, possibly reflecting a broadly positive outlook since the election. The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence in July rose to the second-highest level in 16 years.
Businesses also have been upbeat. A measure of corporate spending on projects, nonresidential fixed investment, climbed at a 5.2% pace. While that was down from the first quarter's 7.2%, it's still one of the best readings since 2014.
In a sign of an improving global economy, U.S. exports expanded faster than imports. That made trade a small--0.18 percentage point--contributer to overall growth.
Government outlays rose, led by a surge in federal defense spending. State and local governments cut back.
Spending on home building and improvements was the biggest drag in the second quarter. Residential fixed investment dropped at a 6.8% pace, the sharpest decline since 2010.
Businesses, meanwhile, didn't restock their shelves and warehouses in the second quarter. A small decline in inventories shaved 0.02 percentage point off of the headline GDP number.
Inflation eased. The price index for personal consumption expenditures--the Fed's preferred inflation gauge--rose at a rate of 0.3% in the second quarter. Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, increased 0.9%.
The Commerce Department's release on GDP can be found at: http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 28, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)