The U.S. economy grew in the spring at the fastest pace since late 2011, another sign the recovery is regaining steam after a rough start to the year.
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the U.S., expanded at an annual rate of 4.6% in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday in its third estimate of the gauge. The agency previously pegged April-through-June growth at 4.2%.
The economy last grew at a 4.6% pace in the fourth quarter of 2011 and hasn’t exceeded that rate since the first three months of 2006, during the last economic expansion.
The spring’s strong showing owed partly to a rebound from a severe winter, when the economy contracted at a 2.1% pace. Combining the two quarters, the economy grew at a pace just above 1% in the first half of 2014.
Other reports suggest the economy carried much of the spring’s momentum into the current quarter, but broader trends suggest the economy has yet to reach full speed.
“The economy’s doing all right now but it’s not off to the races,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. “The preponderance of evidence is that we’re in a moderate-growth situation.”
Stronger job growth along with a pickup in consumer and business spending have many economists projecting third-quarter growth to clock in above 3%. Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers predicts 3.3% annual growth from July through September.