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2nd-quarter US output the best in two years

The US economy grew at its most vigorous rate in two years this spring, expanding at an annual rate of 8.7 percent, the government said. The growth rate of the gross national product in the second quarter was more than two percentage points higher than the administration had predicted. Increased consumer spending, particularly on automobiles, and an end to the sale of inventories without replacement helped the year's second-quarter leap ahead of the first quarter's 2.6 percent growth rate.

In other economic news:

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* The second quarter's rate of inflation was 4.5 percent, compared with the earlier tentative projection of 4.7 percent and a first-quarter inflation performance of 5.5 percent.

* Fewer Americans applied for initial state unemployment checks during the second week in July than at any time in more than two years, the Labor Department reported.

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