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31 August 2017, 01:36 | Melanie Burgess
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Growth in the U.S. expanded in the second quarter at a greater pace than previously estimated, as personal consumption and non-residential investment increased by more than forecast in the flash estimate. Increased business spending also helped lift the latest estimate above the Commerce Department's initial reading of 2.6 percent for the quarter.
The healthy growth figure from the April-June period, which is up from the paltry 1.2 percent real GDP growth seen in the first quarter, could be a boon for President Trump, whose administration has promised a decade of 3 percent growth. Personal consumption expenditures added 2.28 percentage points to top-line growth in the second quarter, up from 1.93 percent in the prior report.
The "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reflects an upward revision from the initial estimate of 2.8%.
On the downside, residential investment and state and local spending were weaker than in the first three months of the year. A separate report on Wednesday from the ADP Research Institute showed companies added more workers than forecast in August, a positive sign ahead of the Labor Department's monthly payrolls data due Friday. But the current devastation in Southeast Texas is expected to impact the third quarter economic growth, with economic activity significantly disrupted in the Houston, Victoria, and Corpus Christi metro areas. That was up from 201,000 jobs in July. Goods exports increased by 2.3 percent in the second quarter, with goods imports up by 1.6 percent. GDP has averaged annual growth rates of just 2.2 percent in this recovery, which is now the third longest in USA history.
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Zandi is forecasting that growth in 2018 will be an even stronger 2.8 percent. American consumers remain in the driver's seat in the current expansion, backed by a strong job market, contained inflation and low borrowing costs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it will take up to two years for the economy to sustain this pace, while some economists have said the target is too high.
This came in much higher than the 185,000 forecast by analysts, and upped the ante on expectations for Friday's report, where forecasts now sit at 180,000 - which is close to the average monthly increase this year.
Investment on nonresidential structures increased at a 6.2 percent pace, rather than the previously reported 4.9 percent rate.
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