Aug 8, 2018
Economy Grew at 4.1% Rate in Quarter, With Some Asterisks
The Commerce Department released its initial estimate of second-quarter economic growth on Friday, providing the latest snapshot of the American economy.
■ United States gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, up from 2.2 percent in the first three months of the year. It was the strongest quarter of growth since 2014.
■ Consumer spending rose 4 percent, but private investment fell slightly.
■ Exports rose 9.3 percent, driven in part by a surge in soybean shipments tied to President Trump’s trade policies.
■ Consumer prices rose at a 1.8 percent annual rate.
Economic growth surged in the second quarter — but don’t expect the boom to last.
The second-quarter acceleration was widely anticipated by economists, a result of a confluence of events unlikely to recur. Most economists expect growth to slow in the second half of the year.
Still, recent data does suggest that the pace of growth has picked up this year. Some economists think full-year growth in gross domestic product could hit 3 percent in 2018 for the first time in the nearly decade-long recovery.
“The bottom line is that the economy is doing better,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist for the accounting firm Grant Thornton.
Mr. Trump didn’t wait for the numbers to be released to herald rosy news. At an event in Iowa on Thursday, he said he was expecting very strong result, noting predictions that ran to 5 percent or higher.
“We’ll take anything with a four in front,” he said.