Based on more complete information about recent years, the government also revised last year’s growth rate up slightly to 2.6 percent — the best so far since the severe recession ended in 2009. But that’s still well below the gains the American economy recorded in the mid-2000s, let alone the booming late 1990s. Over all, the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.2 percent in the second quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday morning, just slightly better than the 0.8 percent pace recorded in the first quarter. The major drags were plunging business spending and excess inventories. Besides the drop in corporate investment, weaker government spending also held back growth, reinforcing a trend that has hobbled the recovery in recent years. Consumer behavior was resilient in the spring: Household spending rose at an annualized rate of 4.2 percent. “The consumer is doing all the heavy lifting,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit. “Aside from technology and software, business spending was bad and housing was also surprisingly weak, which is payback for gains in recent quarters.”
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