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August 30, 2013 10:31 AM Economy Grows Quietly

By Ed Kilgore

As many Americans were away on vacation or readjusting to a new school year, and others were focused on events in Syria, a piece of genuinely good economics news seeped out yesterday, per this report from Catherine Rampell:

The nation’s economic output grew at a much faster rate in the second quarter than originally estimated, buoyed by an increase in exports.
Gross domestic product, a broad measure of goods and services produced across the economy, grew in the second quarter at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in April through June of this year, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday. The government initially estimated G.D.P. at 1.7 percent….
[T]he upward revision was welcome news, particularly alongside another report on Thursday showing that jobless claims were falling.

The news could have been better, of course:

The shrinking government continues to drag on the economy. State and local government spending has declined almost every quarter for the last four years, and federal government spending fell during about half of those quarters. The upward revision to gross domestic product last quarter primarily reflected the fact that exports turned out to be higher than initially estimated and imports were actually slightly lower.

And now for the downside:

The improving economy is also likely to factor into the Federal Reserve’s decision to pull back from its stimulus efforts, which some analysts expect as soon as September.

Yes, in this good-news-means-bad-news economy, we could see investors panic if the Fed doesn’t send exactly the right signals on monetary policy. So the stock market bears watching the next few days.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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