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U.S. economy expands at 2.3 percent in second quarter, picking up speed

(WASHINGTON POST) Chico Harlan — The U.S. economy rebounded between April and June, new government data showed Thursday, expanding at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent.

Growth in the second quarter remained modest, particularly compared with the breakneck pace seen in much of 2014, but it also signaled a bounce-back from a surprisingly sluggish winter when the economy was at a crawl.

In the latest quarter, consumer spending helped drive much of the growth, as a nation with growing disposable income — the product of low inflation and falling gasoline prices — upped its spending by 2.9 percent.

The Federal Reserve had signaled on Wednesday that it could soon raise interest rates for the first time in nearly seven years, and Thursday’s data offers a sign that the economy is on solid — though unspectacular — footing. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the U.S. economy will grow 2.5 percent for the year, an estimate that has been trimmed slightly over the last few months.

“We’re an economy that just can’t get up to highway speed,” said Stuart Hoffman, the chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “It’s a city-driving economy. We’re getting closer to where we want to be, but we’re getting there slowly.”

Source: U.S. economy expands at 2.3 percent in second quarter, picking up speed – The Washington Post