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The U.S. clocked its fastest rate of economic growth in nine years. Well, at least if you strip out the effects of a battered energy sector.

Oil and exploration companies this year have cut back on investment in response to a plunge in crude prices that gathered steam as 2014 drew to a close. If it weren’t for such a dramatic reversal in demand for drilling rigs and wells, the economy would have posted its strongest pace of growth since the start of 2006.

Gross domestic product, which includes what consumers, companies and governments spend and invest, increased at a 4.5 percent annualized rate in the second quarter when outlays for exploration, shafts and wells are excluded.  Read More…