President Trump touted the strength of the economy on Friday, pointing to a GDP rate of 4.1% and record-low unemployment.
“I am thrilled to announce that, in the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1 percent. We’re on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years,” the President said during prepared remarks from the South Lawn of the White House.
“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,” he added.
The President was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow in his remarks.
Mr. Trump pointed to a decreasing trade deficit and the return of manufacturing jobs as reasons for the upturn.
“Perhaps one of the biggest wins in the report, and it is indeed a big one, is that the trade deficit — very dear to my heart, because we’ve been ripped off by the world — has dropped by more than $50 billion. $52 billion, to be exact,” the President said.
“Think of that. The trade deficit has dropped by more than $50 billion. And that’s added — and adding — one point to GDP. That’s a tremendous drop. We haven’t had a drop like that in long time. You’ll have to go back a long time before you find it.”
“We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions,” the President would go on to say. “When I came into office, 1.5 million fewer prime-age Americans were working than eight years before. We had lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous administration.”
“And you all know, they say, ‘Well, you have to lose manufacturing jobs. It will get worse and worse. Manufacturing jobs are obsolete.’ No, they’re not obsolete; they’re the greatest jobs we have,” the President said.
Maintaining these numbers are a priority for the administration, the President and his aides said.
“And I think the most important thing — and Larry Kudlow just confirmed to me, along with Kevin Hassett — that these numbers are very, very sustainable. This isn’t a one-time shot. I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report, next quarter. I think it’s going to be outstanding.”
“I won’t go too strong, because then if it’s not quite as good, you’ll not let me forget it,” the President said. “But I think the numbers are going to be outstanding.”
The U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 4% this month, marking the first time that measure has increased in one and a half years. It had been at 3.8%, the lowest point in 18 years. But the increase in the unemployment rate was viewed as a positive.
About 601,000 Americans have re-joined the workforce, which is what caused the rate to rise. The market is so strong, many people who had previously given up looking for work have started again.
The President described the effect the positive job market was having on working-class Americans.
“Yesterday, I was at Granite City Steel in Illinois. It was an incredible sight. We had an audience of steel workers, some of the roughest, toughest people you’ve ever seen. And half of them had tears coming down their face,” the President said.
“I don’t know if these people ever cried before in their life, to be honest. Half of them had tears coming down because we opened a tremendous United States Steel plant. They’re opening up seven other plants. And the steel industry is back. They’re open for business.”
June marked the 93rd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.
Photo by The White House