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US Economy Grows at 4.1 Percent Annual Rate in 2nd Quarter


President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the economy at the White House, July 27, 2018, in Washington. Vice President Mike Pence is at right.

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in about four years in April, May, and June, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The department said the world's largest economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the second quarter.

President Donald Trump said his tax cuts and trade policies helped growth and would continue to help the economy expand.

Analysts said Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut at the beginning of the year boosted economic growth by encouraging consumer spending and business investment. PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher told VOA that besides tax cuts, strong growth in wages, jobs and business investment contributed to expansion.

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Trump Says Economy Numbers Sustainable, But Experts Doubtful
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Regarding trade, Trump told reporters, "As the trade deals come in one by one, we're going to go a lot higher than these numbers, and these are great numbers."

Temporary lift?

Many analysts, however, said U.S. economic growth was boosted by temporary factors that will fade over the next few months.

The trade dispute with China, for example, prompted buyers to rush purchases of U.S. soybeans before Chinese retaliatory tariffs raised costs for that key market for America's largest agricultural export, according to analyst Mark Hamrick. He also said worries about trade disputes had cut the prices farmers get for some crops as investors worried that trade problems could cut demand.

Trump and some analysts said U.S. economic growth would probably settle down to about 3 percent for the year.

Faucher said, "The second half of the year will be good — not quite as good as we saw in the second quarter, but still pretty solid."'s Hamrick said 3 percent growth "is worth celebrating." He also said trade disputes could hurt growth, but Faucher said those worries had faded in recent weeks. Hamrick and Faucher spoke via Skype.​