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Report: U.S. economy grows 3.2 percent, best in 6 years

By Clyde Hughes
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on April 22, 2019. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/258bb0adee9f7d1c7d76293ddda11190/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on April 22, 2019. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- The growth of the U.S. economy in the first quarter beat analyst predictions and recorded its best performance in six years, according to government figures released Friday.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the gross domestic product for the quarter grew 3.2 percent. Dow Jones said that the economists it polled expected only a 2.5 percent increase over the first quarter.

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It was the first time the GDP rose above 3 percent since 2013.

"The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment," the report said.

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"Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased. These contributions were partly offset by a decrease in residential investment. The acceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected an upturn in state and local government spending, accelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, and a smaller decrease in residential investment," it continued.

The report covered most of the 35-day federal government shutdown, the longest in history, during which Congress and President Donald Trump squared off over border wall funding.

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"[The economic numbers] were far higher than even the high expectation," Trump said Friday before departing for Indianapolis. "Our economy is doing great. ... We're the No. 1 economy right now in the world and it's not even close."

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Mark Zandi, a chief economist for Moody's Analytics, said that news about the U.S. economy is good for the rest of the world.

"The American consumer is key to the U.S. economy," Zandi told National Public Radio. "We consume everything we produce and a lot of what everyone else produces across the globe. So if the American consumer is hanging tough, that's good for our economy but also good for the global economy."

While some analysts expect the economy to cool off, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that he believes the three percent growth can be maintained.

"I know I may be at loggerheads with some of the forecasters and maybe even the consensus, but I really think this is going to turn out to be a pretty strong first half and a pretty strong year," Kudlow told the National Press Club.

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