The US economy shrank again in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

Gross domestic product, a wide-ranging measure of economic activity, fell by 0.9% on an annualized basis from April through June. 

That decline marks a key symbolic threshold for the most commonly used — albeit unofficial — definition of a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

Gross domestic product fell 0.9% at an annualized pace for the period, according to the advance estimate.

The drop came from a broad swath of factors, including decreases in inventories, residential and nonresidential investment, and government spending

That follows a 1.6% decline in the first quarter and was worse than the Dow Jones estimate for a gain of 0.3%.

The Federal Reserve over the past four months has raised benchmark borrowing rates by 2.25 percentage points.

On Thursday, the latest weekly jobless claims data from the BLS showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits were an estimated 256,000 for the week ending July 23.

That total is 5,000 below the previous week's level, which was revised upward by 10,000 claims to 261,000.

"Jobless claims have definitely moved higher from their cyclical lows," Sweet said. "I think that's more of a reflection of an economy shifting into a lower gear."

Since 1948, the economy has never seen consecutive quarterly growth declines without being in a recession.