As Trump Anticipated, 2nd Quarter GDP Growth Was a 'Terrific' 4.1%

By Susan Jones | July 27, 2018 | 9:42am EDT
President Trump speaks at a steel plant in Granite City, Ill., on July 26. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - President Trump told steelworkers in Illinois Thursday he was expecting a "terrific" Gross Domestic Product number for the second quarter, and he wasn't disappointed:

Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018, according to the advance estimate released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That's a considerable improvement from the (revised) GDP growth of 2.2 percent in the first quarter and the best showing since 2014.

"GREAT GDP numbers just released," Trump tweeted on Friday morning. "Will be having a news conference soon!"

At the impromptu news conference on Friday morning, Trump hailed the "amazing" 4.1 percent rate.

"We're on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years. And I will say this right now, and I'll say it strongly -- as the trade deals come in one by one, we're going to go a lot higher than these numbers, and these are great numbers.

"During each of the two previous administrations, we averaged just over 1.8 percent GDP growth. By contrast, we are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3 percent, and it could be substantially over three percent. Each point, by the way, means approximately $3 trillion and 10 million jobs. Think of that," Trump said.

"If economic growth continues at this pace, the United States economy will double in size more than ten years faster than it would have under either President Bush or President Obama."

Trump said one of the "biggest wins" in today's GDP report was the trade deficit -- "very dear to my heart, because we've been ripped off by the world." He noted that the trade deficit has dropped by more than 50 billion -- "$52 billion to be exact."

Trump said increasing growth to 3 percent over the next ten years would mean adding "12 million new American jobs and $10 trillion of new American wealth, at least."

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the second quarter GDP number reflected positive contributions from personal consumption spending, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending. Those positives were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

Trump on Thursday urged steelworkers to look for today's GDP number:

"So whatever those numbers are, watch for them. Somebody actually predicted today 5.3. I don't think that's going to happen, 5.3. If it has the four in front of it, we're happy. If it has like a three, but it's a 3.8, 3.9, 3.7 -- we're OK. But these are unthinkable numbers. If I would have used these numbers during the campaign, the fake news back then would have said, he's exaggerating."

The revised estimate for second-quarter GDP, based on more complete data, will be released on August 29, 2018.

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