On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, Steven Rattner presented charts explaining how President Trump has been dispatching self-congratulatory tweets about his economic stewardship but the reality is that apart from the stock market, he has little to brag about. The economy continues to grow and add jobs at roughly the same rate it did under President Obama.
While President Trump did get a post-election bump according to a number of metrics, that glow has faded. Trump’s voters appear to be increasingly frustrated with Congressional gridlock, the failure of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, and the increasingly uphill battle on tax and infrastructure reform. This University of Michigan chart shows how consumer expectations jumped immediately following the election but have since dropped back to below where they were last November and close to recent lows.
That may be part of why retail sales growth has recently been decelerating. As this chart shows, retail spending by consumer had been increasing steadily at between 3.5% and 5%. Here again, President Trump may have gotten a post-election jump but most recently, core retail sales growth has dropped to 2.6%, the lowest in more than three years.
Other indicators, like the second quarter forecast for Gross Domestic Product, have been steadily revised downward due to the lack of any substantive policy accomplishments from the White House and continued Washington dysfunction. This has dashed hopes for a 3% sustained growth rate as touted by the Trump administration and contributed to growing concern among economists. Late last year, about 40% of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal thought the economy was more likely to underperform their growth forecasts. After the election, that percentage dropped to 25%. Now it is up to 57%, the highest since before November of last year.