Economy grows slowly but steadily at 2.5%

The economy grew at a 2.5% annual rate in the second quarter, the government said Thursday, in a report already being overshadowed by a slowdown heading into the second half of the year.

The Commerce Department's third estimate of the economy's growth between April and June was unchanged from the figure released last month. But a slowdown in housing construction and other factors are pulling down third-quarter growth. Data released so far points to a 1.4% growth rate, according to Moody's Analytics.

The new report makes only minor adjustments to what had been previously reported, as a small increase in estimated spending by state and local governments was offset by downwardly-revised estimates of inventory buildup by private businesses.

The second quarter outpaced the 1.1% annual growth rate seen in the first three months of the year because exports rose and business investment rebounded, going from a decline to a 4.7% annualized jump. But spending on research and development fell, as businesses invested more in buildings than in new products and equipment.

Consumer spending grew 1.8% during the quarter, slowing from the 2.3% gain seen in the first quarter. Households continued their recent pattern of spending freely on durable goods like cars, which rose 6.2%, while spending only 1.2% more on services.


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