The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter, compared with an earlier estimate of 1 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The department's third and final calculation of GDP growth in April-June was slightly above the 1.2 percent forecast by analysts and coincided with government economists' initial second-quarter numbers.

U.S. growth domestic product grew by only 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2011.

The upward revision in GDP and Thursday's announcement that new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 391,000 - the lowest level since April - combined to spur modest advances in the financial markets.

The Commerce Department report also indicated that consumer spending rose by 0.7 percent in the second quarter, better than the previous estimate of a 0.4 percent increase.

Consumer spending accounts fuels around 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The figure for corporate profits in the second quarter was likewise revised upward, from 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate remains at 9.1 percent more than two years after the end of the worst slump since the Great Depression. Last month, for the first since February 1945, the U.S. economy created no net new jobs.

The broader U6 unemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs and people who have given up looking, remained unchanged in August at 16.1 percent.