The U.S. economy grew 2.1 percent at the annual rate in the second quarter, slowing from 3.1 percent growth in the first quarter. Consumer and government spending buoyed growth for the quarter, but drags from business spending and net exports counterbalanced this somewhat. Slowing global growth and trade uncertainties served as a drag on activity, with businesses hesitant to increase spending. Along those lines, nonresidential fixed investment declined 0.6 percent in the second quarter, the first decline since the first quarter of 2016.

The current forecast is for 2.4 percent growth for 2019, down from 2.9 percent in 2018.

The data on manufacturing activity provided mixed results last week. On the positive side, new durable goods orders increased 2.0 percent in June, bouncing back somewhat after declining in three of the prior four months. With that said, the overall data for new durable goods continues to highlight weaknesses in the broader sector, with sales down 1.6 percent over the past 12 months. Excluding transportation, new orders increased a softer-than-desired 0.9 percent.


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