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  HOME | Business & Economy (Click here for more)

US Economy Decelerates, Grows at 2.1% Clip in 2nd Quarter

WASHINGTON Ė The United Statesí economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

That result marks a slowdown in US economic growth compared to the first quarter, when the countryís gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at an annual rate of 3.1 percent.

The latest growth figure comes from the first provisional reading (advance estimate) on GDP for the second quarter by the departmentís Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The April-June growth rate, however, slightly exceeded the forecasts of economists, who had been expecting second-quarter growth of just 1.9 percent.

Consumer spending (which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity) rose 4.3 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 1.1 percent increase in the first quarter, but business fixed investment fell by 0.8 percent, the largest quarterly drop in three years.

The GDP reading comes shortly before the next meeting of the US Federal Reserveís policy-making body, which is widely expected to lower its benchmark federal-funds rate from its current target range of 2.25-2.5 percent.

The US central bank has not lowered interest rates since late 2008, when the US was in the grips of the Great Recession.

The US economy has been sending mixed signals in recent months.

The labor market remains strong, with the unemployment rate having fallen below 4 percent in recent months (a level not seen in a half century), while inflation is still contained and below the Fedís 2 percent annual target.

But US President Donald Trumpís trade war against China, a strategy that has led to increased tariffs on imported goods by both countries, has raised concerns among business leaders about the health of the US economy.

Trump has repeatedly pressed the Fed to help bolster economic activity by lowering interest rates.

 

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