August 30, 2017 Last Updated 10:15 am

US economy grew 3% in Q2, but dollar slides on future worries; Houston finally sees sunlight

Morning Brief: The White House revokes rule requiring businesses to track what they pay employees by gender, race and ethnicity as efforts to understand inequality take a hit

The now tropical storm Harvey has made landfall again, this time west of Cameron, Louisiana. Rainfall this morning is particularly heavy in Beaumont, Texas. But now that the storm is east of Houston, it is allowing residents of the city to see sunshine for the first time since Hurricane Harvey made landfall last Friday — and the storm is no longer stationary, but will move off to the north-east into Kentucky by Saturday.

Just what the effects of Harvey will be on the economy will be hard to tell at first. Oil refining is taking a hit, and the economy of southeast Texas is at a standstill. Yet recovery efforts and rebuilding has stimulative effects.


Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the second quarter of 2017. The Trump administration will use this as proof that the Republicans are well on their way to fulfilling their promise to jump start the economy, while some will look at the numbers and begin to respond the way the GOP did to good economic news under the Obama administration and wonder if the books are being cooked.

The New York Times, Nelson D. Schwartz:

U.S. Economy Grew 3% in 2nd Quarter, Fastest Pace in 2 Years

The United States economy kicked into higher gear last quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, revising its initial estimate for growth upward to 3 percent — the fastest pace in two years.

The revised figure is still well below President Trump’s target of 4 percent, but it is a major improvement from the government’s initial reading last month of 2.6 percent growth.

It is also significantly better than the economy’s lackluster pace in the first quarter. The improvement was spurred in large part by strong consumer spending, with purchases of durable goods like automobiles and appliances rising strongly.

US News & World Report, Andrew Soergel:

Consumers Feel Great About the Economy Now, Uncertain About What’s Next

Consumers’ assessment of the economy’s current health in August hit its highest point in 16 years, according to a report published Tuesday by The Conference Board.

The overall confidence index climbed more than 2.4 percent over the month, with the component measuring current conditions jumping nearly 4 percent to its highest point since 2001. The subindex measuring future expectations, meanwhile, inched up less than 1 percent.

“Consumers’ more buoyant assessment of present-day conditions was the primary driver of the boost in confidence,” Lynn Franco, the board’s director of economic indicators, said in a statement accompanying the report.

Slate, Daniel Gross: The Economy Minus Houston
Barrons, John Kimelman: Harvey’s Impact on Trump Agenda and Economy
Business Insider, Pedro Nicolaci da Costa: The dollar is struggling and it’s a direct reflection of the prospects for Trump’s economic agenda
Forbes, Douglas Bulloch: Is China’s Economy Just A Giant ‘Ponzi Scheme’?
Reuters: Lending to UK Consumers Cools as Economic Confidence Ebbs

Americans has an incredible ability to decide that if the news is not good to simply ignore it, call it fake, and ultimately demand that they no longer want to know what is going on.

Take gun violence: the Congress, in 2015, extended the ban on CDC research on gun violence. The reason is that the NRA believes the CDC will use the research to push for gun control. So, if we don’t know the extent to which gun violence is effecting our lives we will just go on promoting great gun ownership.

The Trump administration is doing the same with climate change, and now the economy and inequality.

The Hill, Jacqueline Thomsen:

Trump blocks Obama rule on collecting info on pay by race, gender

The White House will shut down an Obama-era rule that would have required businesses to track how much they pay workers of varying genders, races and ethnicities according to a new report.

“It’s enormously burdensome,” Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, told The Journal. “We don’t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination.”

The Obama rule would have required employers with 100 or more employees to hand over data on wages to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the goal of preventing pay discrimination.

This tweet will not be looked on very favorably by our allies:

So, if negotiations are off the table, what is on the table?

NY Post, Yaron Steinbuch:

US warship shoots down missile during test in the Pacific

A US warship shot down a medium-range ballistic missile in a test off Hawaii on Wednesday — as North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un vowed to forge ahead with more missile tests in the Pacific, officials said.

The USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai before intercepting it with SM-6 missiles, the US Missile Defense Agency said.

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