Remarks by Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) Breakfast Roundtable in New York, NY

Sep282018

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Friday, September 28, 2018

Good morning. It is always great being with the BCIU. I have enjoyed our events for many years, and I look forward to our discussion this morning.

As we begin, forgive me the indulgence, as a member of the Cabinet, to tout the President’s economic accomplishments. In the 20-months since inauguration, there is no denying that our economy under President Trump is performing better than it has in decades.

Yesterday, GDP numbers were released by my Department. They confirm a second-quarter growth rate of 4.2 percent. It was not long ago that there was a pervasive and mournful acceptance among politicians, economists, and senior members of the previous administration, that the U.S. economy had entered into what was being called the “new normal.”

I called it “the new dismal.” The new normal meant that annual GDP growth rates would never again exceed 2 percent. Today, thankfully, that economic assumption has been disproved. The U.S. economy is bouncing back from decades of ennui and neglect.

That’s not to say we don’t have challenges. We do. For instance, Gross Domestic Income is not increasing by the amount we’d like to see, at 1.6 percent in the second quarter.

We also have mounting workforce issues, caused by the adoption of new technology and the booming economy. There are 6 million people who are unemployed, but there are 6.9 million open jobs that need to be filled. This might be considered by some to be a “good” problem to have, but the lack of skilled workers is not helping employers, and it could impact future growth.

The Administration is addressing this issue, too, with the newly created “National Council for the American Worker,” which I co-chair with Ivanka Trump. And we have created an American Workforce Advisory Board, to which we will soon be appointing members from the private sector, educational institutions, and states.

There are a few other important economic indicators that are salubrious, and worthy of mention.

Current-dollar GDP rose by 7.4 percent, or by $371 billion, in the second quarter, to $20.41 Trillion.

Corporate profits increased by $65 billion in the second quarter.

Our Census Bureau reported yesterday that new orders for manufactured durable goods this past August increased by 4.5 percent, or $11 billion, to $260 billion.

New orders for capital goods rose by an impressive 10.9 percent in August, an indicator of more growth to come.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has reached the lowest level since 1973.

And our unemployment rate is currently sitting at only 3.9 percent.

This is all good news, and it is indicative of the positive outlook that endures within the business community, thanks to the passage of long-overdue tax reform; the success we are having in reducing oppressive regulations; and our desire to fix an unfair global trading system that has generated a U.S. trade deficit in goods that exceeded $800 billion last year.

We are rebuilding the U.S. industrial base of the United States. And in completing that task, we are neither being distracted, nor consumed by the cacophony generated by the mass media.

With that, I look forward to discussing what we are doing in the trade arena; the latest developments with NAFTA, China, Japan, and Europe; and our devotion to programs and projects aimed at improving the fortunes of American ranchers, farmers, miners, and workers.

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Last updated: 2018-10-03 11:39

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