July 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy expanded by nearly 7% between April and July, official government figures showed on Thursday -- surpassing its size before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Commerce Department released the growth figures in a report that detailed overall economic growth in the second quarter. It expanded by 6.5% over the first quarter of 2021, the department said.
While the growth figure missed most analysts' expectations, it signaled sustained growth of the domestic economy after months of turmoil last year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The increase was slightly better than the 6.3% growth in the January-April period.
Most economists expected the report to show growth of 8.4% in the second quarter.
"The increase in second-quarter GDP reflected the continued economic recovery, reopening of establishments and continued government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic," the Commerce Department report said.
"In the second quarter, government assistance payments in the form of loans to businesses and grants to state and local governments increased, while social benefits to households, such as the direct economic impact payments, declined."
Gross domestic product measures a country's total output of goods and services and is the chief indicator of economic health.
With Thursday's report, the economy has now seen better growth in three straight quarters after the record 33% expansion in the third quarter of 2020.