US economic growth hits a 2-year high on strong business and consumer spending

US economic growth in the second quarter was stronger than previously thought, according to the Commerce Department’s third estimate of gross domestic product released Thursday.

GDP, the value of everything produced in America, was revised up to an annualized growth rate of 3.1% from 3%. It was the fastest rate since the first quarter of 2015.

The boost to growth came from stronger-than-expected consumer spending, which is usually the biggest contributor to the economy.

Personal-consumption growth was maintained from the second estimate at a 3.3% rate, led by spending on housing, utilities, prescription drugs, and mobile phone services.

The 3.1% growth rate is ahead of President Donald Trump’s stated 3% target for the economy. But that pace would need to be sustained or surpassed in the third and fourth quarters for there to be 3% growth on an annual basis. Most economists think low productivity growth could keep economic growth below 3%.

Economists are looking ahead to the first estimate of third-quarter GDP, to be released October 27, for any impact of the hurricanes that recently slammed the southeastern coast of the US mainland. They anticipate a dip in Q3 that should be made up in the fourth quarter and then the first quarter of next year as the damage is repaired.

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