US economy surges to 4.1 percent growth rate in Q2


WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy surged in the April-June quarter to an annual growth rate of 4.1 percent. That's the fastest pace since 2014, driven by consumers who began spending their tax cuts and exporters who rushed to get their products delivered ahead of retaliatory tariffs.

The Commerce Department reported today the gross domestic product, the country's total output of goods and services, posted its best showing since a 4.9 percent gain in the third quarter of 2014.

President Donald Trump is predicting growth will accelerate under his economic policies. But private forecasters cautioned the April-June pace is unsustainable because it stems from temporary factors. The rest of the year is likely to see good, but slower growth of around 3 percent.

Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the economic record of the Obama administration, pledged during the 2016 campaign to double growth to 4 percent or better.

"It's only going to get better," the president said Thursday during a trip to Iowa and Illinois.

The latest GDP figure was nearly double the 2.2 percent growth rate in the first quarter, which was revised up from a previous estimate of 2 percent growth.

Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, rebounded to a 4 percent annual growth rate after turning in a lackluster 0.5 percent gain in the first quarter. Consumers began spending their increased take-home pay on autos and other big-ticket items, spurred by the $1.5 trillion tax cut Trump pushed through Congress in December.

Forecasters expect healthy consumer spending in the second half of this year but a slower pace than in the spring.

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