US Economy Grew Slightly Faster in Second Quarter

Posted September 29th, 2011 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. government says the country's sluggish economy grew a bit faster than first estimated in the second quarter of the year, but still not fast enough to reduce the country's high unemployment rate.

The government said Thursday that the nation's economic output advanced 1.3 percent in the April-to-June period, up from the previous estimate of 1 percent. Even so, the U.S. said its economy, the world's largest, grew only by nine-tenths of one percent for the first half of the year. That was the weakest six-month performance since the recession officially ended more than two years ago.

U.S. companies have been reluctant to hire more workers, leaving 14 million people unemployed. The government said Thursday that first-time unemployment compensation claims fell sharply last week, down 37,000 to a 391,000 figure, the lowest level in nearly six months.

But the government said the decline may have been an aberration, making it difficult to compare with longer-term trends.

Economists say that the weekly number of unemployed workers seeking financial assistance would have to reach 375,000 or less for an extended period before the nation's 9.1 percent unemployment rate would begin to fall. Both government and private economists say do not think that will happen anytime soon.

The chairman of the U.S. central bank, Ben Bernanke, this week called the U.S. unemployment situation “a national crisis.” He said it is particularly troublesome that nearly half of the millions of unemployed workers have been out of work for six months or longer.

The U.S. said the revised estimate for the economy's growth in the second quarter was attributed to more consumer spending and increased exports.