US economy sees brisk growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy accelerated last quarter at an annual rate of 4.1 percent, the government estimated Friday, as consumers spent tax-cut money, businesses stepped up investment and exporters rushed to ship their goods ahead of retaliatory tariffs.

President Donald Trump said he was thrilled with what he called an “amazing” growth rate — the strongest quarterly figure since 2014 — and said it wasn’t “a one-time shot.” But most economists took issue with that forecast, saying the pace of growth in the April-June quarter won’t likely last in the months ahead.

The Commerce Depart­ment said the gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the United States — posted its best showing since a 4.9 percent annual increase in the third quarter of 2014.

Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the Obama administration’s economic record, had pledged during the 2016 presidential race to double annual economic growth to 4 percent or more. And at a White House appearance Friday with his top economic advisers and Vice President Mike Pence, the president boasted that “we’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.”

He predicted that the economy would fare “extraordinarily well” in the current July-September quarter and that growth for 2018 as a whole would be the best in 13 years.

But forecasters cautioned that the April-June pace was due mainly, though not entirely, to temporary factors. Most analysts are forecasting that growth this year could reach 3 percent, which would be the best since a 3.5 percent gain in 2005. Many think annual growth in the second half of this year will be 2.5 percent to 3 percent.