Trump Breaks Tradition on GDP Figures

US economy surges in second quarter grows at 4.1 percent rate

Modal Trigger AP

But on Friday, the government estimated that the economy did in fact expand at a 4.1 per cent annual pace in the second quarter, up from a 2.2 per cent rate in the first three months of the year.

Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett on the state of the US economy and the trade truce with Europe.

President Donald Trump and his advisers trumpeted the numbers in a news conference outside the White House, saying that the economy was on pace to grow at the fastest rate in 13 years. From left, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The president called the 4.1 percent rate "amazing" and said, "As the trade deals come in one by one, we're going to go higher".

That is the fastest pace of growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) numbers since 2014.

Trump and some analysts said US economic growth would probably settle down to about 3 percent for the year. But quarterly figures are volatile and strength in one quarter can be reversed in the next.

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GDP Goal Compared with a year earlier, second-quarter GDP rose 2.8 percent, just shy of the 3 percent mark, which was last reached in 2015. The economy grew 2.9 percent in 2015.

Both of those factors are largely beyond Trump's control.

The President also pointed out a decrease in trade deficit with a number of countries and vowed economic growth for the US will continue as a number of agreements are renegotiated.

But forecasters cautioned that the April-June pace was due mainly, though not entirely, to temporary factors. But in recent months, the trade dispute sparked an unexpected short-term boost in exports.

Just about all economists say the biggest wildcard is the ongoing trade fight with China and other major trading partners. And he has been trying to highlight economic gains ahead of the midterm elections.

President Donald Trump speaks on trade at Granite City Works Steel Coil Warehouse, Thursday, July 26, 2018, Granite City, Ill.

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Today's government report that the economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent was good news- but it quickly raised a widespread question: is it sustainable?

"With the year-over-year change in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) deflator (2.2 percent) as well as the core PCE deflator (1.9 percent) up relative to the past four quarters, the case remains for the Fed to raise the benchmark funds rate".

In April of this year, the Commerce Department reported that GDP in the first quarter increased by 2.3%, certainly far below the 4% growth rate I forecasted for the entire year.

Trump claimed that the USA has been "abused like no nation has ever been abused on trade before", including by United States allies. If anything, trade could curtail growth later this year if foreign companies buy less from the United States.

Growth also wasn't as bad when he took office as Trump claims. When services are included, such as insurance, tourism, and engineering, the US had a $2.8 billion surplus with Canada a year ago.

This article was written by Heather Long, a reporter for The Washington Post.

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On Thursday, Trump visited IL and Iowa to tout his stewardship of the world's largest economy to farmers and steelworkers - two groups that have supported him, but are feeling the bite of his policies.

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