US economic growth cooled a bit in the spring and early summer


Economic growth for the second quarter – covering April, May, and June – was expected to be around 2%, and those projections proved to be about right.

The economy got a jolt of adrenaline in the spring from the biggest increase in household spending in a year and a half, but falling business investment kept a lid on second-quarter growth and signaled potential trouble ahead.

Gross domestic product, the official report card on the economy, grew at a 2.1% annual pace from the start of April to the end of June, the government said Friday. GDP slowed from a 3.1% gain in the first three months of the year.

The full report from the Commerce Department is online here.

To be sure, GDP growth of 2.1% isn’t bad, though it’s a dip from the first quarter, and it’s exactly half the growth Americans saw in the second quarter of last year, when Donald Trump and his allies celebrated in ways that suggested they didn’t understand the difference between quarterly and annual growth rates.

What’s more, this morning’s figures – which will be revised in the coming months – suggest the president will again fail to produce annual growth between 4% and 6%, which is what he inexplicably promised during the 2016 campaign.

As for the image above, the chart shows GDP numbers by quarter since the Great Recession began. The red columns show the economy under the Bush and Trump administrations; the blue columns show the economy under the Obama administration.

Correction: I’d missed a couple of revisions from last year, so the above chart has been updated and corrected.