Easing Economic Growth Reported for Solid Third Quarter

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Good news for the economy: the U.S. Commerce Department reported today that U.S. economic output increased 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 1999. The increase is due, in part, to the rise in imports and smaller business inventories.

Although these figures were down from the 2.3 percent first reported last month, they remained in line with the expectations of economists. In addition, the 1.8 percent annual rate was the slowest rate in a year and matched the rate of growth in the second quarter of 1998.

Specifically, the Department reported a 14.4 percent jump in imports and an increase in inventories at a $12.1 billion annual rate instead of the $19.4 billion estimated last month. The increase in imports indicates Americans are purchasing more products made overseas.

The report was published two days following Tuesday's decision by the Federal Reserve Bank's to increase short-term interest rates by a quarter point.

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