The story of the economy has been akin to a Cadillac meeting a series of jolting potholes. It’s an uncomfortable ride, but the vehicle continues to progress, and it’s not clear whether or not any of the road imperfections are producing lasting damage.
If one was to spend one’s time watching CNN, MSNBC, or any number of other media outlets, they would be pounded by news of chemical warfare, late-night bombings, tariffs on steel and aluminum, a burgeoning trade war between the world’s two largest economies, indictments, investigations, sentencing of presidential allies, and an ongoing set of inquiries that threatens the presidency itself. This deluge of unsettling news would appear to be enough to soften economic performance, but to date, there’s little evidence that all this negativity has done much damage. Here’s what we know about the U.S. economy halfway through the year.
Economic growth continues to be brisk. During the final three quarters of 2017, the U.S. economy expanded at roughly a 3 percent rate. During 2018’s initial quarter, the economy expanded at a 2 percent annualized rate, impressive by first quarter standards.