The United States economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.9 percent during the second quarter of 2008, according to a report from the Commerce Department. The figure was an improvement over the revised 0.9 percent rate for the first quarter; however, most industry experts were predicting a growth rate of 2.3 percent. Analysts attribute the spring growth to the government's economic stimulus funds and a strong increase in exports. The Commerce Department also revised figures for the fourth quarter of 2007 to show a drop of 0.2 percent from its prior estimate of a 0.6 percent increase. This decline marks the first time since the recession of 2001 that the U.S. economy contracted.
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