The 2nd quarter increase in real GDP reflected increases in consumer spending, exports, business investment, and government spending. The only decreases were in business inventory investment and housing investment. The increase in consumer spending reflected increases in services and both durable and nondurable goods. The unemployment rate is low, wages are increasing and people, in general, feel good about their financial situation. The increase in exports reflected increases in exports of goods. Clearly a result of foreign companies purchasing supplies prior to tariff rate increases going into effect.
Concerns, however remain. Last quarter we noted the possibility of the economy overheating. We now believe this is less likely because of the potential impact of a global trade war. Business activity appears to be slowing as companies weigh the odds of there being a trade war or not. As is, the tariff increases that have been implemented are small relative to global trade. The real danger continues to be the uncertainty about what happens next. If trade tensions sap business confidence, causing executives to put off capital spending and other investment decisions, then the damage could get serious. Time will tell.