The American economy: Can the Trump boom last?
America's president is not the architect of American strength. But in the short term, things will go his way.
There is often more fakery than truth in a tweet from President Donald Trump. But on one subject he is broadly right. America's economy is in good shape. Business confidence is high. Jobs are plentiful. Last month non-farm companies added 228,000 workers to their payrolls. The unemployment rate is 4.1%, the lowest figure for more than a decade.
The availability of jobs is drawing more of the working-age population into the labour force.
Wages are growing in real terms with some of the biggest gains going to low-paid workers.
Mr Trump over-eggs things, of course.
He claims each good jobs report and each new peak in the S&P 500 as his own achievement.
In fact, he was lucky in his inheritance.
The market has risen by 25% since his election, but is up by 195% since 2009.
The unemployment rate fell from a peak of 10% to 4.7% under Barack Obama and then to 4.1% on Mr Trump's watch.
His administration says that a mix of deregulation and corporate-tax cuts will spur sustained GDP growth of 3%, well above the 2% average of recent years.
As the economy approaches full employment, an astonishing pickup in productivity would be needed to accomplish that.
But Trump-bashers overstate their case, too.
They dismiss the optimism of consumers and bosses as sentiment, not substance.
They warn that the stockmarket is dangerously overvalued and that America's expansion, which is in its 102nd month, must soon falter.
Yet the economy is not in immediate danger.
And the maturity of the business cycle cuts both ways.
It makes a nonsense of Mr Trump's claims to be the author of American economic success.
But the economy is also capable of some welcome surprises.
America is not the only economy doing well.
For about a year, a synchronised global expansion, taking in Europe, Asia and the Americas, has been under way.
GDP growth in the euro zone, a region until recently synonymous with economic misery, is around 2.5%, despite slower population growth than America's.
But America stands out because of where it is in the cycle.
If it continues in 2018, this expansion will become the country's second-longest ever.
True, there are perils.
As the business cycle matures, there is more chance that the economy will overheat, because of bottlenecks in the jobs market;
or that the central bank overtightens in order to prevent things from running too hot.
The longer the economy keeps growing, moreover, the more scope there is for financial imbalances, such as excess debt or frothy asset prices, to build up.
Some warning signals are flashing.
The gap between long-term and short-term interest rates has narrowed, as it tends to before recessions.
Yet the evidence for overheating is thin.
Inflation has trended lower this year.
Wage growth has picked up a little, thankfully, but shows few signs of accelerating.
Pay would have to increase by quite a lot more before rising inflation is a real worry.
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