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Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1% annualized rate in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: It's a significant slowdown from the first quarter's 3.1% growth rate, but still better than the 1.9% economists had expected. Once again, strong consumer spending offset the sharp decline in business investment and trade's drag on growth.

The government also released revised GDP figures dating back to 2014.

  • Economic growth in the final quarter of 2018 was revised to a 1.1% annual rate, a much slower pace than the 2.2% originally estimated.
  • If you're measuring total growth in 2018 versus total growth in 2017, the 2.9% growth rate for 2018 previously estimated remains unchanged.

The bottom line: The buoyant consumer is making up for skittish businesses, which have been thwarted by a global economic slowdown and trade war uncertainty, causing them to pull back on spending.

  • Yes, but: "The consumer has been the main engine of economic growth this year, however, that should not be taken as a given going forward," Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at consulting firm RSM, writes in a note.
  • "As firms facing margin compression look to try to pass along increased costs linked to tariffs downstream, our view is this may lead to slower household consumption, further limiting potential GDP growth."

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 32,595,105 — Total deaths: 989,663 — Total recoveries: 22,508,651Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 7,034,432 — Total deaths: 203,789 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.

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