The U.S. economy expanded in the second quarter of 2010 for a fourth straight quarter at a slightly quicker pace than previously reported, according to a release by the U.S. Commerce Department. The third government estimate showed that the U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew on an annualized basis by 1.7 percent in the April to June quarter following a real 3.7 percent growth rate in the first quarter.
The first estimate for the second quarter, released in July, had shown GDP growth by 2.4 percent but was revised lower to a 1.6 percent growth rate in the second estimate released in August. The second quarter is the fourth consecutive quarter of U.S. economic growth after the GDP had fallen for four straight quarters over the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009.
The latest data was boosted by an uptick in consumer spending to 2.2 percent from the last estimate that registered a 2.0 percent increase in consumer spending.
Today’s GDP news surpassed market forecasts that were expecting GDP growth to be steady at 1.6 percent for the quarter.
The first estimate for the third quarter GDP data is scheduled for October 29th.
Weekly Jobless Claims fall by 16,000
U.S. weekly jobless claims decreased by more than expected in the week that ended on September 25th, according to a release by the U.S. Labor Department today. New jobless claims fell by 16,000 workers to a total of 453,000 unemployed workers. The 4-week moving average of unemployed workers decreased by 6,250 workers from the previous week to a total of 458,000.
Market forecasts were expecting jobless claims to edge down to 460,000 workers following the prior week’s 469,000 revised number of claims.
Meanwhile, workers seeking continuing claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending September 18th also decreased for the week. Continuing claims declined by 83,000 workers to a total of 4,457,000 unemployed workers.
Continuing claims also came in better than market forecasts that were expecting a total of 4,473,000 claims. The four week moving average of continuing claims dropped by 5,500 workers to a total of 4,526,750.
US dollar mixed in Forex Trading, Stocks lower
The U.S. dollar has been mixed in forex trading today against the other major currencies while the U.S. stock markets have been slightly lower for the first half of the day. The dollar has been increasing today versus the euro, British pound sterling, Swiss franc, Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar, according to currency data by Oanda. The American currency has been on the defensive so far today against the Canadian dollar and the Japanese yen.
The U.S. stock markets, meanwhile, have been negative so far today with the Dow Jones declining by nearly 50 points, the Nasdaq decreasing almost 20 points and the S&P 500 down by over four points at time of writing. Oil has advanced by $0.89 to $78.75 while gold has fallen by approximately $7.00 to near the $1,300 per ounce level with the current price at the $1301.50 per ounce level.