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US Economy Expanding Rapidly

FILE - A construction worker builds a commercial complex in Springfield, Illinois.

The U.S. economy, the world's largest, is growing even faster than first thought.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday the American economy advanced 4.2 percent in the April-to-June quarter, up from its earlier 4 percent estimate. The agency said the bigger expansion was fueled by more robust business investment in new buildings, machinery and research.

The report said the American economy also is advancing because of increased consumer spending, more exports and higher spending by state and local governments.

The second quarter growth came after the U.S. economy contracted at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, partly because of an unusually harsh winter. Economists are forecasting 3 percent growth throughout the second half of the year and into next year.

The U.S. labor market has been adding jobs at a rapid pace, with employers hiring an average of 244,000 new workers each month since February, the best six-month advance since 2006. Even so, the country's jobless rate is still at 6.2 percent, high by U.S. historical standards, and nearly 10 million workers remain unemployed.