Economic growth would have been even stronger had it not been for a fall in inventories, said Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays. Supply chain constraints and shortages of parts like semiconductors are causing halts in production, he said, most notably in the automobile sector.

That should ease in the months ahead, he added, especially as businesses take their cue from more bullish consumers.

“We’re at the opening stages of what could be a very strong six to nine months for the U.S. economy as it emerges from the pandemic,” he said. “The best is still yet to come.”

Ben Casselman, Neal E. Boudette and Sydney Ember contributed reporting.

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