The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years in the second quarter and activity was broad-based, in a bullish signal for the remainder of the year. The Commerce Department on Friday raised its estimate of gross domestic product to show the economy expanded at a 4.6 percent annual rate. The best performance since the fourth quarter of 2011 reflected a faster pace of business spending and sturdier export growth than previously estimated.
The stronger growth profile provides a firmer base for the third quarter. So far, economic data such as manufacturing, trade and housing suggest that much of the second-quarter momentum spilled over into the third quarter. Growth estimates for the July-September quarter range as high as a 3.6 percent pace. GDP was previously estimated to have advanced at a 4.2 percent rate in the second quarter. The economy contracted at a 2.1 percent pace in the first quarter.