The numbers-crunchers at the Commerce Department have taken a second look at economic performance for the second quarter and things are a little better than they appeared at first glance.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) -- the output of goods and services in the U. S. -- increased at an annual rate of 4.2%.
This latest number is based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month, which put the increase in real GDP at 4.0%. Although the second estimate for the quarter looks a bit better, the government says the general picture of economic growth remains the same.
Positives and negatives
The increase in real GDP in the April-June period primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
Eye on inflation
The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 1.9% in the second quarter -- the same as in the advance estimate. It was up 1.4% in the first quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index jumped 1.7%, compared with an increase of 1.3%.
The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.
In a separate report, the Labor Department (DOL) says initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 in the week ending August 23 -- to 298,000. However, it's something of a wash, given that the claims from the previous week were revised higher -- from 298,000 to 299,000.
Economists at Briefing.com were calling for claims to total 302,000.
During the past several weeks, the initial claims level has dropped below 300,000, which would suggest the economy is running at, or very near, full employment.
The 4-week moving average, which is considered a more accurate gauge of the economy because it smooths out the weekly volatility, was 299,750 -- down 1,250 from the previous week.
The full report can be found on the DOL website.