U.S. Q2 GDP Tops Expectations

Figures released by Washington Thursday showed that U.S. economic output grew at a 3.1% annual rate in the second quarter, slightly stronger than previously thought and marking the best growth in two years.

The estimate, based on revised data released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, replaces a previous tally of 3% growth. Economists expected the estimate to remain at that 3% level.

The agency said stronger business spending--mainly in the form of farmers decreasing their stockpiles less than previously thought--led to the upward revision.

Many private-sector economists estimate economic output fell back to a rate of between 1% and 2% in the third quarter. Those same economists expect growth to rebound in the year's final months and early next year as hurricane-hit communities rebuild, consumers and businesses step up spending broadly and the global economy gains traction.