US Economy Grows a Bit Faster Than First Thought

The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.2 percent annual rate in April, May and June, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The second-quarter growth figure for gross domestic product was one-tenth of a percentage point higher than initial estimates.

“The economy is in good shape,” said PNC Bank Chief Economist Gus Faucher. He wrote that this was the best “year-over-year increase in three years.”

But Faucher also said growth above 4 percent was “unsustainable” and that the economy was “set to slow somewhat in the second half of 2018,” hitting 3.4 percent growth for the whole year. He predicted U.S. economic growth would slow further in 2019 and 2020 as the “stimulus from tax cuts and spending increases fades.”

U.S. President Donald Trump cheered the news:

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, had a different take on the report.

“No amount of President Trump tweets can change the fact that real wages are declining,” he said in a statement, adding that the cost of living — particularly gas and health care costs, “thanks in large part to Republicans and the Trump administration” — is “continuing to climb.”

Wednesday’s report from the Commerce Department was a routine revision; such changes are made as more complete data become available.

Growth figures were boosted by a decline in imports, particularly petroleum, and by some temporary factors.

One of those factors was a surge in soybean exports, which were rushed at a faster-than-usual pace to beat tariffs imposed by China in retaliation for new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese goods.

The new second-quarter figures were nearly double those of the first quarter.

— 29/08/2018

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