On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent between April and June. This represents the fulfillment of a key campaign promise Donald Trump made: that the economy would grow 4 percent under his watch.
“We’re bringing [the Gross Domestic Product] from 1 percent up to 4 percent,” Trump declared in an October 2016 debate. “And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.”
In January of this year, outlets like Newsweek reported that Trump had fallen short of his promise, as the economy only grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate for 2017, less even than the 2.9 percent federal economists had predicted.
The economy grew by more than 4 percent in the second quarter of 2018, however. The 4.1 percent growth is the fastest economic growth since 2014, when the economy grew at 4.9 percent in the third quarter of that year.
According to the Associated Press, the economic uptick was driven by consumers who began spending their tax cuts and exporters who sought to get their products delivered ahead of retaliatory tariffs.
The tax cuts benefit ties positively back to President Trump, but the tariffs loom over this economic growth. President Trump has suggested that America will quickly win the trade wars he is unleashing, so retaliatory tariffs will be short-lived. If the 4.1 percent economic growth is to be sustained, let’s hope he’s right.
Otherwise, the growth will temper off. Trump has kept his promise for one quarter — but he may not be able to keep it for a whole year.
Private forecasters cautioned that the April-June pace may be unsustainable because it stems from temporary factors. The rest of the year is likely to see a growth of around 3 percent.
All the same, Friday’s news is quite positive for the man who promised economic growth north of 4 percent — now he has to sustain that growth.