The U.S. economy expanded somewhat faster in the second quarter than originally reported because of higher consumer spending and slower growth in imports, the government said Wednesday.
Gross domestic product increased at a 1.7% rate in the April-to-June period, up from a first read of 1.5%, the Commerce Department said. GDP â€” the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. â€” is the broadest measure of an economyâ€™s health.
The economyâ€™s current level of growth, however, still falls well short of whatâ€™s needed to dramatically lower the nationâ€™s high unemployment rate and eliminate the lingering threat of another recession.
The U.S. has grown at below-average rates since exiting the last recession in mid-2009, held back mainly by poor job growth. The nationâ€™s unemployment rate has hovered above 8% for 42 straight months, marking the longest period of prolonged labor-market weakness since the Great Depression.
Nor do economists expect growth to accelerate much in the near future. The U.S. is projected to grow 2.0% in the third quarter and 1.9% in the final three months of the year. Soft consumer spending, weakness in the global economy and the threat of higher U.S. taxes and deep spending cuts next year are among the headwinds restraining growth, analysts say.
The slight increase in second-quarter GDP matched Wall Street expectations. U.S. stock futures turned slightly higher on the news.