Real GDP growth made unexpected improvements for Q2 2013, according to the Commerce Department's second of three estimates released (link opens as PDF) today.

After initially estimating quarter-to-quarter growth at 1.7%, the department's newest number crunching puts Q2 GDP growth at 2.5%.

Analysts were pleasantly surprised for the second time in a row, having expected 1.1% growth for the Commerce Department's first estimate and 2.2% growth for this latest estimate.

The main boost behind this revision comes from international trade. After dropping off 1.3% during the first quarter, real exports of goods and services ramped up 8.6% for Q2. At the same time, imports (which count negatively toward GDP) increased a smaller 7.0%.

Real nonresidential fixed investment managed to reverse its 4.6% drop in Q1 by clawing back up to 4.4% gains. Government spending (which counts positively toward GDP) continued to taper off, but this quarter's 1.6% dip is a long shot from Q1's 8.4% drop.

Inflation remained relatively unmoved, edging up 0.1 percentage points from the department's first estimate to hit a seasonally adjusted 0.8%. Excluding more volatile food and energy prices, inflation remained at 1.1%.

GDP measures the output of all goods and services produced in the United States. 

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