The US economy grew solidly in the second quarter as massive government aid and vaccinations against Covid-19 fueled spending on travel-related services.

Gross domestic product increased at a 6.5% annualised rate last quarter, the Commerce Department said in its advance estimate of second-quarter GDP.

The economy grew at a revised 6.3% rate in the first quarter.

With the second-quarter estimate, the government published revisions to GDP data, which showed the economy contracting 3.4% in 2020, instead of 3.5% as previously estimated.

That was still the biggest drop in GDP since 1946.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, the arbiter of US recessions, declared last week that the pandemic downturn, which started in February 2020, ended in April 2020.

Even with the second quarter marking the peak in growth this cycle, the economic expansion is expected to remain solid for the remainder of this year.

A resurgence in Covid-19 infections, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, however, poses a risk to the outlook.

Higher inflation, if sustained, as well as ongoing supply chain disruptions could also slow the economy.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept its overnight benchmark interest rate near zero and left its bond-buying programme unchanged.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters that the pandemic's economic effects continued to diminish, but risks to the outlook remain.

Fiscal Stimulus boost

The International Monetary Fund boosted its growth forecasts for the United States to 7% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022, up 0.6 and 1.4 percentage points respectively, from the forecasts in April.

President Joe Biden's administration provided $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief in March, sending one-time $1,400 checks to qualified households and extending a $300 unemployment subsidy through early September.

That brought the amount of government aid to nearly $6 trillion since the pandemic started in the United States in March 2020.

Nearly half of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, allowing Americans to travel, frequent restaurants and attend sporting events among services-related activities that were curbed early in the pandemic.

Though the fiscal boost is fading and infections are rising in states with lower vaccination rates, consumer spending will likely continue to grow.

Households accumulated at least $2 trillion in excess savings during the pandemic.

Record high stock market prices and accelerating home prices are boosting household wealth.

Wages are also rising as companies compete for scarce workers amid a strengthening labour market.