Economy Growing Faster: Now You Tell Us!

A second revision of the second-quarter GDP statistics is out today from the Commerce Department, and it’s even better than what we heard earlier, as explained by Brother Benen:

When economic growth in the first quarter of 2014 looked awful, it was widely seen as a fluke and all projections pointed to a big improvement in the second quarter.

Those projections were correct. The preliminary figures on second-quarter GDP looked good; the revised tally looked better; and the final report looks even better still.

The U.S. economy grew at a 4.6% annual pace in the second quarter, matching the best performance since the recession ended in mid-2009. The increase in real gross domestic product was revised up from 4.2%, mainly because of higher exports and business investment, the Commerce Department said Friday. Americans also spent more on health care, but the gain was offset by lower spending on other services.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted GDP would be revised up to a seasonally adjusted 4.7%. Consumer spending, the main source of economic activity, was unchanged at 2.5% growth. The biggest gains came in business investment, a good sign for the economy in the months ahead.

To provide some additional context, 4.6% growth is tied for the best quarter since the start of the Great Recession. The last time we saw GDP growth stronger than this was the first quarter of 2006 – more than eight years ago, long before the start of the downturn and the 2008 crash.

A real shame negative perceptions of the trajectory of the U.S. economy have settled in, and aren’t much likely to change by November 4, eh?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.