“It’s not just the GDP report. We’ve had a really steady stream lately, whether it’s GDP or ADP or [jobless] claims or retail sales or confidence measures,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “That shows up in the Atlanta Fed [projection]. How many times in this entire recovery have we put back-to-back 3-plus-percent quarters together? We’ve done it, but not a lot.”
Indeed, the trend calls into question Wall Street’s projections that economic growth this year will be closer to 2 percent; The International Monetary Fund estimates U.S. growth at 2.1 percent for both 2017 and 2018.
In the early part of the year, it looked like those estimates would be correct. GDP increased just 1.2 percent in the first quarter, while job gains slowed through the springtime and wage growth remained mired around the same levels despite an unemployment rate that fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.
Trump’s pro-business agenda of lower taxes and increased infrastructure spending has stalled in Congress, though he has been able to enact some regulatory rollbacks through executive orders.
Growth has persisted through the year despite the Washington gridlock, and the stock market has posted a series of record highs. At the same time, coordinated global growth has taken hold for the first time in decades.
“The rest of the world is…
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