Revised 2nd-quarter numbers rise a bit

After a bleak start to the year, the economy grew at a brisk annual rate of 4.2 percent in the April-June quarter, the government said Thursday, slightly faster than it first estimated.

The upward revision supported expectations that the second half of 2014 will prove far stronger than the first half.

The Commerce Department’s second estimate of growth for last quarter followed its initial estimate of 4 percent. The revision reflected stronger business investment than first thought.

The seasonally adjusted
4.2 percent annual growth rate for the gross domestic product — the nation’s total output of goods and services — came after the economy had shrunk at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter. That was the economy’s biggest drop since the depths of the Great Recession, and it reflected the effects of a harsh winter that kept people away from shopping malls and disrupted factory production.

Many economists say they expect growth of about 3 percent in the July-September quarter and for the rest of the year.

During a White House news conference Thursday, President Obama took note of the new estimate. “There are reasons to feel good about the direction we are headed,” he said.

The president said he would press Congress when it returns next week to take further actions to boost the economy.

— Associated Press

Yellen’s assets jump 8 percent in value

Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen’s assets rose in value by at least 8 percent during 2013, raising their total to between $5.3 million and $14.1 million, according to her latest financial disclosure, released Thursday.

Yellen’s biggest asset is a trust fund she set up in 1992 with her husband, George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. Its value is estimated at between
$1 million and $5 million.

Yellen’s assets likely have been driven up in value by a rebounding economy and rising stock market. In 2012, her disclosure form estimated her assets at between $4 million and $13 million. Some of Yellen’s listed assets belong to her alone; others are co-owned with Akerlof.

The disclosure documents provided only a broad range rather than a specific figure for total assets.

Yellen’s disclosure form covers calendar year 2013, when she served as the Fed’s vice chair before succeeding Ben Bernanke in February to become the first woman to head the central bank.

One of the assets Yellen listed was a stamp collection, valued at between $15,000 and $50,000, a value that did not increase from 2012. The stamp collection is jointly owned with Akerlof.

Yellen, 68, said she was receiving a pension from the University of California at Berkeley, where she and Akerlof were for many years.

— Associated Press

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