Economy grew 2.3 percent in second quarter

Economy grew 2.3 percent in second quarter
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The U.S. economy grew 2.3 percent in the spring, as the economy bounced back from a brutal winter.

The new numbers reported Thursday by the Department of Commerce are a bit lower than what economists expected, but show a rebound from the dismal first quarter of the year.

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In fact, first-quarter numbers were revised upward to show that the economy actually did grow somewhat, by 0.6 percent. Previously, the government had reported the economy shrank by 0.2 percent to open the year.

Thursday’s second-quarter numbers were the first government estimate for second-quarter growth, and will be revised twice more. The economy grew thanks to strong consumer spending, exports, and state and local government spending among other factors.

The new numbers could put to rest lingering concerns that the U.S. economy could be in much worse shape than previously thought. The last few years have seen the economy show poor numbers in the first quarter of the year, only to bounce back as the year progressed. And Thursday’s report continues that trend.

Close watchers of the economy, including Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, had theorized that the awful first-quarter numbers were primarily due to temporary factors. A harsh winter and a labor dispute that hampered West Coast ports were cited as significant factors that weighed on the economy at the beginning of the year, but disappeared later on.

The Fed announced Wednesday that it would be keeping rates near zero, but also indicated that it was still on track for an interest rate hike sometime later this year. Thursday’s indication that the economy is still growing could bolster the notion that the Fed could act, potentially as soon as its September meeting.