GDP Increases Slightly in Spring

The economy grew at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the spring - better than first estimated but nowhere near the brisk pace logged in the winter, another sign of slowing business growth. Inflation marched higher.

The latest snapshot of economic activity, released by the Commerce Department Wednesday, showed that gross domestic product in the April-to-June quarter increased slightly more than the 2.5 percent pace first reported a month ago. That upgrade mostly reflected an improvement in the country's trade picture and stronger inventory building by businesses.

The upward revision, though, didn't change the big picture of the economy: In the spring, it slowed sharply from the first quarter's 5.6 percent pace, the strongest growth spurt in 2 1/2 years, as consumers and businesses tightened the belt.

Gross domestic product measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States and is considered the best barometer of the country's economic standing.

The second-quarter's showing was slightly less than the 3 percent pace that analysts were expecting.

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