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US Economy Grows Faster Than First Thought

  • Jim Randle

A woman fills out an application for one of the 300 available positions at a new Target retail store in San Francisco, California, August 9, 2012.

A woman fills out an application for one of the 300 available positions at a new Target retail store in San Francisco, California, August 9, 2012.

The U.S. economy grew faster than first thought in April, May, and June, while the housing market showed some gains in July.

Commerce Department experts say the U.S. economy expanded at a 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter, which is two-tenths of a percent better than first estimated.

Economists said the Gross Domestic Product will have to expand at a rate faster than 2 percent to cut the U.S. unemployment rate, which is above 8 percent.

The GDP measures all the goods and services produced in the nation.

A separate report showed that more Americans are signing contracts to buy homes in July, which may be evidence that the housing market is recovering.

The National Association of Realtors said the number of pending sales rose 2.4 percent in the month, which is more than experts expected.

Many investors are wondering if the U.S. central bank will do more to stimulate the economy in the hope of further helping the housing market and cutting unemployment.

They may get some answers on Friday when U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech to key economic officials at a resort in Wyoming.

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