Stronger economic data recently signals a continuation of the 3% GDP growth rate, Kevin Hassett, an economic advisor to President Donald Trump, said Monday on CNBC.
“The first quarter is usually a little bit low. I think there’s almost more upside than downside risk going forward on the economy,” said Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Our internal numbers at CEA got up to around 3% for the first quarter last week with some of the good news on retail sales.”
The Trump White House has used 3% growth as a yardstick for success of the president’s economic agenda, which included tax cuts and business deregulation. The economy nudged past that number when measured from the fourth quarter of 2017 through Q4 of 2018.
Last week, economists surveyed by CNBC/Moody’s Analytics Rapid Update raised their first-quarter growth estimates by 0.3 percentage point to a median 2.4%, following a sharp increase in March retail sales. Their median forecast for Q1 was as low as 1% earlier in the quarter after the longest government shutdown ever. Sentiment was also muted coming into 2019 after stocks suffered their worst year in about a decade.