When it comes to second quarter U.S. economic growth figures, interpretation is everything.
On one hand, the projection of 4.1% second quarter growth is a sign of a surging economy set to grow for years to come.
But on the other hand, it is seen as temporary sugar rush created by tax cuts and debt. It’s unsustainable in the light of higher tariffs, an escalating trade war that could impact large portions of the economy, and rising federal deficits that put America even deeper in debt.
Another data point to determine which of these two camps is most accurate for predicting the future of the U.S. economy is job’s figures. July’s jobs report came in with fewer than expected jobs, a gain of 157,000 jobs vs. a forecast of 190,000.
While that miss in itself may not mean much, since the overall jobless rate dropped to 3.9%, the fact that wages are growing slowly remains a concern.
Also concerning is the record amount of household debt. Consumers are using it to spend and that is partially responsible for that 4.1% GDP growth, as I noted on Fox Business recently. But it’s not sustainable.
Add it all up and there’s considerable reason to believe that the 4.1% growth rate is only temporary.
It will not represent the full GDP growth figure over all of 2018, nor will it be the growth figure in 2019 or 2020. Even the Fed admits growth will slacken over the next couple of years.
I don’t often agree with the Fed. But on this point, I agree with the Fed’s forecast for slower growth to come. That outlook presents options for the Fed to create more credit, or what I call dark money...