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U.S. Economy: GDP Surprises, And Hiring Rises In July

The U.S. economy grew by an annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, according to gross domestic product data released Wednesday morning. The Commerce Department says the rise stems from business investments, particularly in buildings, and an upturn in exports and the civilian aircraft industry.

The data represents the agency's first estimate of the value of all goods and services produced in the United States. The growth exceeds economists' expectations, which had called for a 1 percent rate of expansion, as Bloomberg News reports.

The new data shows a modest increase over the results for this year's first quarter, which were revised downward to 1.1 percent from 1.8 percent, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. It also reported gains in Americans' income.

"Real disposable personal income — personal income adjusted for taxes and inflation — rose 3.4 percent in the second quarter after falling 8.2 percent in the first quarter," the Bureau of Economic Analysis says.

Purchases of goods and services by U.S. residents rose by 2.4 percent in the second quarter, from 1.4 percent growth in the first.

Personal saving also rose by half a percentage point, from 4 to 4.5 percent. Rises in prices for goods and services were slight, at 0.3 percent, compared to a 1.2 percent rise in the first quarter of 2013.

In other economic data released Wednesday, the payroll firm ADP says U.S. companies added 200,000 new jobs from June to July. That means American businesses "hired in July at the fastest pace since December," according to The Associated Press.

The payroll company also revised its June figures upward, to 198,000 from 188,000.

By industry, the biggest job gains were in professional and business services, as well as in trade, transportation and utilities, ADP says. The construction sector added 22,000 jobs in the month, while manufacturing lost 5,000 jobs.

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