Manufacturing And Other Metrics White House Uses To Argue A Strong Economy Decline

The White House has repeatedly pointed to retail sales and housing data as evidence the economy remains strong despite other indicators signaling a downturn, but reports over the last two days have shown those measures falling too. While they try to claim that Trump is helping the manufacturing industry, two new data points out today show the sector struggling.

MANUFACTURING DECLINED AGAIN: U.S. manufacturing production fell in September for the second time in three months, despite the White House claiming that manufacturing was “starting to boom again.”

Wall Street Journal: “U.S. manufacturing production fell in September for the second time in three months, suggesting trade frictions and slowing global growth are denting a key segment of the U.S. economy. Manufacturing output, the biggest component of industrial production, fell 0.5% in September from a month earlier, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.”

Larry Kudlow: “Housing, manufacturing starting to boom again in July and August. The president mentioned that in his presser yesterday. It looks like the U.S. economy is in a turning zone back up. And our policies of tax cuts and deregulation and lowering trade barriers and energy are working.”

RETAIL SALES FELL: Retail sales, which the White House has repeatedly cited as evidence of the economy remaining strong under Trump, fell suddenly last month for the first time in seven months.

Bloomberg: “U.S. retail sales unexpectedly posted the first decline in seven months, suggesting consumers are starting to become shaky as the main pillar of economic growth and potentially bolstering the case for a third straight Federal Reserve interest-rate cut.”

CEA Chair Tomas Philipson: “In an email on Thursday, the acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Tomas Philipson, said, ‘The U.S. economic outlook remains strong despite slowing global growth.’ He cited the strength of the services sector, which makes up the bulk of the American economy, and strong consumer spending powered by increased wage and productivity growth.”

Larry Kudlow: “I sure don’t see a recession. We had some blockbuster retail sales, consumer numbers towards the backend of last week, really blockbuster numbers.”

HOUSING STARTS FELL BY NEARLY 10% last month, after the White House pointed to housing data as a sign the economy would pick back up.

Reuters: “Housing starts declined 9.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.256 million units last month as construction in the volatile multi-family housing segment dropped, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.”

Larry Kudlow: “Consumers are doing very well. There is a very strong movement up in housing because of low interest rates. Starts, sales, pending sales. That may be a leading indicator that the whole economy is picking up steam.”

Larry Kudlow: “‘It’s like the entire media is trying to push us into recession,’ said Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser. ‘If you look at the housing data the numbers are much better. I don’t think impeachment, even if they do vote, will have any impact on the economy at all. It doesn’t have anything to do with it.’”

FACTORY ACTIVITY FELL IN PENNSYLVANIA: While White House officials claimed “manufacturing is coming back” in Pennsylvania, a new report shows factory activity fell in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic.

MarketWatch: “Philly Fed Manufacturing Index Stumbles In October”

Peter Navarro in Pennsylvania: “This is no longer the Rust Belt. It’s the Trump hub of prosperity, and it’s because manufacturing is coming back.”

Peter Navarro in Pennsylvania: “What President Trump is doing is rebuilding that manufacturing and defense industrial base.”