Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
It's probably too soon to break out the bubbly, but this morning's economic news did cheer economists. Things are moving in the right direction, at least.
The Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product grew by 1.7 percent in the second quarter, a big jump over the downwardly revised 1.1 percent for the first quarter.
Granted, 1.7 percent is pretty modest compared with the 3 percent or 4 percent everyone would like to reach, and it represents a drop from last year's pace of about 2.8 percent, revised from the 2.2 percent reported earlier. But economists polled by Reuters had forecast only 1 percent for the most recent quarter, and a surprise on the upside is obviously better than one on the down. Growth for the year's first half was a sluggish 1.3 percent.
Many economists feel growth must exceed 2 percent to bring down unemployment. In advance of the government jobs report coming Friday, ADP and Moody's Analytics today said 200,000 jobs were created in the private sector in July, beating forecasts of 180,000.
Growth in the April to June period was helped by business spending, exports and a slowdown in the decline of government spending. Unfortunately, consumer spending was lower, but savings were up, perhaps foreshadowing higher consumer spending in the future.
A twist in all this: the government has changed its methodology for measuring GDP.
"I can't tell you if that 1.7 would have looked different under the old [calculation] style or how much affect there is, but it's definitely better than anticipated."
—CNBC's Rick Santelli
"There are two ways to think about the government [spending] number, which are A, the sequester wasn't as bad as we thought, or B, it's coming."
—CNBC's Steve Liesman
—"200K in any economy other than the one we are in, with 7.6 percent unemployment, would be considered pretty darned good." Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics.