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November 20, 2017

Cowbell: US Growth Forecasts on the Rise

A growing economy is a president's best Tweet.

Donít look now, but U.S. growth forecasts are moving higher. Thatís helping to support U.S. stocks.

Projections for U.S. economic growth from two Federal Reserve banks have risen in recent weeks. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Friday forecast that gross domestic product will rise 3.8% in the fourth quarter, up from a forecast of 3.2% a week earlier.

A separate measure from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta forecast 3.4% growth last week. Research firm DataTrek noted that the rival forecasts are outpacing projections from human economists, who on average expect 2.7% growth for the quarter.

Even if the less optimistic Atlanta Fed model is correct, it would be the best quarter for the U.S. economy in more than three years.

Isn't the 3.8% projected growth perilously close to the 4.0% Trump called for, which many said was impossible (because Obama hadn't managed anything close)?

While voters -- including Trump voters -- fault him on his "chaotic"
style, they are pleased with the economy:

But when the subject turned to the economy, opinions of Trump noticeably warmed.

Trump wants to "bring the economy jobs 00 infrastructure, construction," said Katrina Harrell, a 38-year-old black self-employed businesswoman who voted for Hillary Clinton last year. Harrell was extremely critical of almost all other aspects of the administration, but on the economy she gave Trump credit.

"I think those are good moves," she said. "I mean, that's what he knows -- business."

Another Clinton voter, Jacob Eubank, a 35-year-old, white administrator at the University of North Carolina campus in Wilmington, shared a similar view.

"I think he's good just for the stock market," he said.

Michael Leimone, a 41-year-old cook who voted for Trump last year but now finds him disappointing, praised his economic record.

"I think he's turning it in the right direction," he said.

Comments like that exasperate Democratic officials, who say that there's little evidence to back Trump's claim that his election has worked a turnaround in the U.S. economy.

The Economist reports that blue-collar wages are "surging" -- and then gives most of the credit to Barack Obama (natch).

IF THERE was a defining economic problem for America as it recovered from the financial crisis, it was stagnant wages. In the five years following the end of the recession in June 2009 wages and salaries rose by only 8.7%, while prices increased by 9.5%. In 2014 the median workerís inflation-adjusted earnings, by one measure, were no higher than they were in 2000. It is commonly said that wage stagnation contributed to an economic anxiety in middle America that carried Donald Trump into the White House.

Yet Mr Trump's rise seems to have coincided with a turnaround in fortunes for the middle class. In 2015 median household income, adjusted for inflation, rose by 5.2%; in 2016 it was up by another 3.2%. During those two years, poorer households gained more, on average, than richer ones. The latest development--one that will be of particular interest to Mr Trump--is that blue-collar wages have begun to rocket. In the year to the third quarter, wage and salary growth for the likes of factory workers, builders and drivers easily outstripped that for professionals and managers. In some cases, blue-collar pay growth now exceeds 4% (see chart).

"Coincided." The leftwing Economist then goes on to femsplain that this is just an acceleration of trends that started under Barack Obama that no one ever noticed and that didn't show up in economic data.


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posted by Ace at 06:26 PM

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