U.S. 2nd-quarter growth revised up

The U.S. economy grew at a brisk 3 percent pace in the April to June quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday — a report welcomed by President Trump, who has repeatedly vowed he can propel the country to faster growth.

“We just announced that we hit 3 percent in GDP. It just came out,” Trump said at a rally in Springfield, Mo. “I think we can go much higher than 3 percent.”

The rate, revised up from the initial estimate of 2.6 percent, was the strongest quarterly growth for the United States in more than two years. Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants and on other services, and businesses invested more in equipment and research. While the private sector surged ahead, however, government spending shrank, especially at the state and local level.

The White House has promised Trump can achieve 3 percent growth for the year, far higher than the 2 percent average under President Barack Obama.

For Trump to achieve his goal in 2017, he will need the economy to accelerate at an even faster rate the rest of the year to make up for the sluggish 1.2 percent growth in the January-March quarter. But few economists are optimistic that will happen.

— Heather Long

Alexa, Cortana to start talking to each other

Alexa, meet Cortana.

Microsoft and Amazon are pairing their voice assistants together in a collaboration announced Wednesday.

The companies said this fall, users will be able to access Alexa using Cortana on Windows 10 computers and Android and Apple devices. They’ll be able to access Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo.

Microsoft said the link will allow Alexa customers to get access to Cortana features such as those for booking meetings or accessing work calendars.

Cortana users, in turn, can ask Alexa to switch on smart home devices or shop on

— Associated Press

Google denies helping oust nonprofit scholar

Google rejected the claims of a think tank scholar Wednesday who said the company had played a role in ousting him from the nonprofit after he praised the European Commission’s decision to fine the tech giant in June.

“We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions, and policy perspectives,” said Alphabet spokeswoman Riva Sciuto.

The statement came in response to a report in the New York Times that the Alphabet unit of Google had complained to New America, a liberal think tank funded by the company, about Barry Lynn, the head of its antitrust program, after he publicly congratulated the European Commission on the record $2.7 billion fine and urged U.S. regulators to follow suit. Lynn said New America president Anne-Marie Slaughter gave in to pressure from Alphabet chair Eric Schmidt.

Slaughter said in a statement the claim “is absolutely false.” The group decided to terminate Lynn after “repeated refusal to adhere to New America’s standards of openness and institutional collegiality,” she said, adding they were spinning off Lynn’s group as an independent program.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

U.S. businesses added a healthy 237,000 jobs in August with broad gains across several industries, according to a private survey. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday the hiring was spread among large companies with more than 1,000 employees and medium and small firms with fewer than 500 workers. Manufacturers added 16,000 jobs, and builders hired 18,000. The leisure and hospitality sector added 51,000 workers. The figures indicate employers still expect the economy to expand, so they’re bolstering their staffs.

A test version of a spacecraft resembling a mini space shuttle has been carried aloft over the Mojave Desert by a helicopter ahead of a free flight in which it will be released to autonomously land on a runway. Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser was lifted off the ground Wednesday morning on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. A control team sent commands to the wingless vehicle and collected data before the helicopter brought it down less than two hours later. The spacecraft is being developed for missions to and from the International Space Station.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for July.

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.

10 a.m.: National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for July.