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31 August 2017, 01:18 | Maryann Sutton
Globe and Mail Update
Real GDP increased by an annualized 3.0% in the second quarter of 2017 according to the second BEA estimate (previously reported as a 2.6% gain). In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.6 percent.
"The consumer is in the driver's seat in terms of economic growth", said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. The economy grew 2.2 percent in the second quarter from one year earlier.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited as his goal raising U.S. economic growth at an annual rate of 3 percent after eight years in which former President Barack Obama could not reach this benchmark in any quarter.
The budget the president released in May projects GDP growth will rise to 3 per cent over the next four years and remain at that level for the rest of the decade.
The Commerce Department issues its second look at the performance of the overall economy for the April-June quarter.
The more robust second-quarter GDP reading reflected stronger consumer spending and business investment, partly offset by a steeper pullback in government spending.
Many economists had been forecasting growth in the current July-September quarter would be around 3 per cent. Economists saw a limited impact on growth from Hurricane Harvey, which devastated parts of Texas. Volatility has returned, geopolitical tension is rising, and the devastation of Harvey has many observers questioning what's in store for the future, particularly as the US dollar declines.
Personal consumption expenditures rose by 2.8 percent in the second quarter, accelerating from the 1.9 percent pace seen in the first quarter on an increased willingness to purchase goods.
The Trump administration has pledged to return the world's largest economy to sustained annual growth of three percent or more by slashing taxes and regulations while boosting trade.
The strength of consumer and business spending is expected to continue into the third quarter.
Likewise, the contribution from nonresidential fixed investment improved from 0.64 to 0.85 percentage points to real GDP growth for the quarter.
Strong growth and a labour market that is close to full employment would support the view that the US Federal Reserve will start unwinding its $4.2tn quantitative easing programme next month and hike interest rates again in December.
Residential investment fell by 6.5 percent, pulling back from really strong gains in both of the prior releases.
Government spending contracted for a second straight quarter, weighed down by decreasing state and local government investment.
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