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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 70)

China Threatens New Tariffs if Trump Escalates Trade War

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157299018_1c14b74c-fa45-4b13-a141-9c7e6e484010-facebookJumbo China Threatens New Tariffs if Trump Escalates Trade War United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

SHANGHAI — China said it would impose tariffs on $75 billion in American-made goods if President Trump carries through on his promise to escalate his trade war with Beijing, in a sign that neither side is ready to back down from an economic conflict that has already cast a shadow over global growth prospects.

China’s plans to retaliate, which were announced late on Friday in Beijing, include putting tariffs on American agricultural products, crude oil and cars.

The news was likely to unnerve investors who worry that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies will drag down global growth. Markets fell on the news in afternoon trading in Europe, and Wall Street opened lower. It also comes at a time of growing nervousness in the United States over the economy, which shows signs of becoming a liability for Mr. Trump as he seeks re-election.

“I think China’s trying to show that, cooperation or fight, it is ready to do both and it is not going to be pressured into an unfavorable trade deal,” said Andy Mok, a trade and geopolitics specialist at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing.

Mr. Mok said that China’s willingness to impose a tariff on imports of crude oil from the United States, even though China needs a lot of imported oil, shows Beijing’s determination. “One way you show your seriousness in a negotiation is to show you’re willing to incur costs,” he said.

The State Council Tariff Commission in Beijing said that the tariffs were a response to Mr. Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs by Sept. 1. Mr. Trump had initially said he would impose 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese-made goods on that date, essentially targeting everything that the United States buys from China that has not already been hit by previous rounds of tariffs. He later delayed more than half of the latest round of tariffs until Dec. 15 to avoid hitting American pocketbooks during the holiday shopping season, and he canceled another one-tenth of it.

Both sides have a lot at stake. Recent market moves have signaled that many investors expect the American economy to slide into recession in the future, with the trade war as a major reason.

The Chinese government has its own worries. The country’s economic growth is already slowing. Though the Chinese government keeps tight control over the country’s economy and still has a lot of financial firepower at its disposal to help growth, a huge and growing debt problem has limited its options.

Like the American tariffs, China’s proposed tariffs would go into effect in two stages. The new tariffs would take effect on Sept. 1 and on Dec. 15, according to the commission. Those dates match when Mr. Trump’s tariffs would go into effect. The commission did not provide the value of how much would be penalized in the first batch and how much in the second.

Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, estimated earlier this month that the tariff categories identified by the Trump administration represented $112 billion in goods facing extra 10 percent tariffs on Sept. 1 and a further $160 billion on Dec 15.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China to Raise Tariffs on $75 Billion in U.S. Goods

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157299018_1c14b74c-fa45-4b13-a141-9c7e6e484010-facebookJumbo China to Raise Tariffs on $75 Billion in U.S. Goods United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government announced on Friday that it would retaliate against President Trump’s next two batches of tariff increases on Chinese goods by imposing its own tariff increases on American imports, in the latest sign that neither side is prepared to back down in their trade war.

The State Council Tariff Commission in Beijing said it would impose extra tariffs of 5 percent or 10 percent on $75 billion worth of American goods. The new tariffs will take effect on Sept. 1 and on Dec. 15, according to the commission, which did not provide the value of how much would be penalized in the first batch and how much in the second.

Those are the same dates when Mr. Trump’s next batches of 10 percent tariffs are scheduled to take effect. Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, estimated earlier this month that the tariff categories identified by the Trump administration represented $112 billion in goods facing extra 10 percent tariffs on Sept. 1 and a further $160 billion on Dec 15.

The news from Beijing sent markets lower in Europe in afternoon trading there. Futures markets indicated that Wall Street would open lower, too.

Mr. Trump had originally threatened to impose the extra tariffs at the start of September. But he delayed more than half the tariffs until December and canceled them entirely for a few categories, so as to allow time for American stores to stock up before the Christmas shopping season.

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Inslee Out. Hickenlooper Out. De Blasio? Town Hall May Be Last Gasp.

He’s entrenched toward the rear in fund-raising totals. He rejects the validity of the various polls showing him at zero percent.

And he also acknowledges that he will probably not qualify for the third Democratic presidential debate next month.

Yet Mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to “accept the premise” of questions about the wisdom of his continued candidacy, even as other candidates who shared his political standing, like Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and the former Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, dropped out of the crowded Democratic field this month.

Instead, the mayor persists in the belief that he has a story worth telling — and that his stewardship in New York City should be viewed as a way to cast light on how the nation can recover from a Trump White House.

On Sunday, Mr. de Blasio may get his last best chance to tell his story, when he appears on a one-hour town hall on CNN at 7 p.m. in New York; Ana Cabrera will serve as the moderator, and 100 likely primary voters from the region will make up the audience.

Which Democrats Are Leading the 2020 Presidential Race?

June 14, 2019

Westlake Legal Group democratic-polls-promo-1560481207024-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v6 Inslee Out. Hickenlooper Out. De Blasio? Town Hall May Be Last Gasp. Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Politics and Government New York City Democratic Party de Blasio, Bill CNN

Jim Crounse, a senior adviser to Mr. de Blasio’s campaign, called the town hall a “big opportunity” for the mayor, who has already hosted 65 town-hall style meetings during his six years as mayor of the country’s largest city.

“Unlike the debates, where quick responses were required, a town hall format will allow the mayor to tell his story, articulate his message and interact with people,” Mr. Crounse said.

But even if Democratic voters approve of Mr. de Blasio’s vision, there is evidence that they do not believe that he should be the candidate to execute it.

“Exposure is not his problem,” said Douglas Muzzio, a public affairs professor at Baruch College. “You can turn people off with exposure as well as turn them on.”

The mayor participated in the first two Democratic debates, and he has made regular appearances on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and on other nationally televised programs.

He has already tried to grab voter attention by making President Trump his foil. He recently spent 40 minutes speaking with one of the president’s strongest supporters in the media, Fox News host Sean Hannity, in a raucous televised interview.

In recent days, Mr. de Blasio has sought to capitalize on his police commissioner’s decision to fire the police officer whose chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man whose repeated “I can’t breathe” pleas helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement.

On CNN, the mayor called it a “never-again moment.” On MSNBC, he said the episode taught him that the Justice Department is not “dispensing justice anymore,” and that city police forces need to adopt de-escalation strategies. And at his news conference hours after the decision was announced, the mayor paraphrased Martin Luther King Jr., saying we should use the Garner death to try to “transform the suffering into progress.”

Still, Mr. de Blasio reported just over 6,600 donors on his last campaign finance filing and he remains at 1 percent or less in most polls, including a recent CNN poll. A poll in May from Quinnipiac University found that the mayor had the highest unfavorability rating among the Democratic candidates at 45 percent.

“I don’t know if he’s turning people off, but he’s not turning them on,” Professor Muzzio said.

And when poor weather forced the mayor to cancel a trip to a labor conference in Iowa on Wednesday, a technical glitch turned his video call into a made-for-social media moment: The pitch of his voice was altered into “Alvin and the Chipmunks” territory.

Fellow Democrats from New York say that the mayor must find some way to use the CNN town hall to give voters a reason to donate to his campaign, and boost his poll numbers ever so slightly.

“It’s going to be a test of whether or not he can say something that is so newsworthy that it can give him the same bump that a good debate would, since it doesn’t look like he’ll make the next debate stage,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a former presidential candidate and host of a show on MSNBC.

“I would never call one thing a make-or-break moment,” Mr. Sharpton added. “But I can’t see how, even after this, he has an easy path forward.”

If Mr. de Blasio was in need of a role model, he could refer to March 10, the date of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s CNN town hall. Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., was a relative unknown before his CNN appearance; afterward, he received hundreds of thousands of donors and a deluge of attention.

“It was the singular most game-changing moment on the campaign,” said Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Buttigieg campaign who formerly worked for Mr. de Blasio’s first mayoral campaign. “Overnight, it launched him from being an unknown quantity to being in the hunt with U.S. senators and a former vice president in the polls.”

Ms. Smith’s free advice: Prepare, but don’t overprepare. You don’t want too many answers that seem scripted. Be clear about what you are bringing to the table that the Democratic Party and the country need.

“The stage is yours for an hour. There are no bells and whistles, no other candidate to parry with,” Ms. Smith said. “There’s no one to hide behind.”

Even if Mr. de Blasio should falter, his candidacy may continue simply because he lacks the immediate political alternatives that some of his peers have. Mr. Hickenlooper announced that he is running for the Senate in Colorado. Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, who will appear in his own CNN town hall that will air just before Mr. de Blasio’s, is also doing poorly in the polls, and Democratic leaders have urged him to drop out and run for the Senate.

If Mr. de Blasio abandons the presidential trail, he will simply return to New York, where he will serve out the last 16 months of his mayoralty, before vacating the office because of term limits. At the moment, that prospect seems far from the mayor’s mind.

As long as he has a chance to speak with voters, “anything can happen because we are in the age of social media,” he said on Thursday, echoing comments from the previous week.

“I think things move now on social media that a day or two can make a huge amount of difference,” he said then.

“The only thing I’d say to you is,” he added, “as more candidates drop out, there’s more opportunity for everyone who remains.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Stephanie Grisham’s Turbulent Ascent to a Top White House Role

WASHINGTON — Stephanie Grisham doled out fast food and tracked lost gear as a press wrangler on President Trump’s 2016 campaign, far from the in-crowd flying on the gold-plated Trump jet. An early and hard-working convert to Mr. Trump’s cause, she told a reporter at one point that she was “riding it until the money runs out,” eager to return home to Arizona.

Instead, Ms. Grisham, 43, rode all the way to Washington with Mr. Trump. And now, after serving in the press office and as Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, she occupies one of the most prestigious roles in American politics, as White House press secretary and communications director for both the president and the first lady.

For a public relations specialist who once churned out news releases on traffic safety, the White House is the loftiest stop in a turbulent career trajectory that has mixed toughness and loyalty to her bosses with professional scrapes, ethical blunders and years spent alternately wooing and pounding the press on behalf of scandal-prone Arizona Republicans.

“I’ve always had a picture of the White House and it would always sit right in front of my desk” in the Arizona Capitol, Ms. Grisham told a local television interviewer from the state shortly after joining the administration. “Whenever I was having a hard day I could look at it and remember what my goal was.”

While Ms. Grisham is still developing her working relationship with the president, she has been less focused on crafting and delivering the White House’s message than on acting as a behind-the-scenes organizer for a president intent on selling and defending himself.

[One of Ms. Grisham’s predecessors, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is joining Fox News as a contributor.]

In the nearly two months since Ms. Grisham was named to her current role, she has not held a single on-camera briefing. She has most recently been in the news for suspending a reporter’s White House pass for a month.

In an interview last week with Eric Bolling of Sinclair Broadcast Group, the only interview she has granted since her move to the West Wing, Ms. Grisham said it was up to the president whether to reinstate the daily White House briefing. “He’s so accessible, so right now I think that that’s good enough,” she said.

Ms. Grisham is the latest example of Mr. Trump’s tendency to value loyalty and an embrace of his unorthodox style ahead of other credentials when filling top jobs.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157719459_5f3ad25d-0f39-4c2b-97bb-bb4d5f2bf78a-articleLarge Stephanie Grisham’s Turbulent Ascent to a Top White House Role United States Politics and Government Trump, Melania Trump, Donald J News and News Media Grisham, Stephanie

Ms. Grisham is the latest example of President Trump’s tendency to value loyalty and an embrace of his unorthodox style ahead of other credentials when filling top jobs.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Her career history contains red flags that most administrations might deem troubling. They include losing a private-sector job after being accused of cheating on expense reports, a later job loss over plagiarism charges and two arrests for driving under the influence, the second while working on Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Colleagues say that on the campaign and in the White House, Ms. Grisham has been a coolheaded, encouraging presence. “When we were tired, she’d tell us, ‘Keep going,’” said Hannah Salem, a White House aide. “She was one of our biggest cheerleaders on the road.”

After Mr. Trump took office, Ms. Grisham joined the White House press office, but soon fled its upheaval and infighting for a job as Mrs. Trump’s communications director, becoming a staunch protector of the first lady.

Ms. Grisham, who repeatedly declined to respond to questions for this article, keeps a low public profile in Washington. Twice divorced, she is the mother of two sons, one in his early 20s and one in grade school.

From her bosses, Ms. Grisham “gets a lot of praise for being loyal,” said David Bodney, a media lawyer in Arizona who tangled with Ms. Grisham over reporter access to public records when she worked in state government there.

“But her job is to make information available,” Mr. Bodney said. “She’s now in a unique position to either serve or frustrate the public interest. Unfortunately, her tenure in Arizona does not bode well.”

Ms. Grisham got her start in national politics as a press aide on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. But she had worked for some time before that in public relations, including a job with the AAA auto club in Arizona, which hired her in late 2006 to help with “public relations, traffic safety initiatives and legislative efforts,” according to an announcement in The Tucson Citizen.

Ms. Grisham was gone within about a year. A former AAA employee with direct knowledge of the matter said Ms. Grisham left after accusations that she filed false claims for travel and other expenses. A spokeswoman for AAA Arizona declined to discuss personnel matters.

Ms. Grisham lost a subsequent job after an accusation of plagiarism.

She had gone to work for an advertising agency in Arizona whose clients included a start-up called GarageFly, an online service that helps car owners find auto repair shops. While making a presentation to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, GarageFly’s founder showed off his website. In an interview, he said he was quickly informed by a furious attendee from AAA that the website included material lifted verbatim from AAA.

Ms. Grisham got her start in national politics as a press aide on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

GarageFly’s founder said he had not known because the website was created by GarageFly’s ad agency, Mindspace. And the Mindspace employee responsible for placing the AAA material on the GarageFly website turned out to be Ms. Grisham, according to two other people involved in the matter. Ms. Grisham lost her job. The agency’s owner, Brent Shetler, confirmed Ms. Grisham’s employment but declined to discuss the reasons for her departure.

Ms. Grisham declined to address questions about her departures from AAA and Mindspace.

Ms. Grisham shifted toward politics, working from 2008 to mid-2010 as a spokeswoman for the Arizona Charter Schools Association and in 2011 as a spokeswoman for Tom Horne, Arizona’s attorney general.

In 2012, Ms. Grisham took time off to work as a press aide on Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign. There, colleagues praised her organizational skills and sense of humor.

After Mr. Romney’s loss, “I was devastated for about a month,” Ms. Grisham said in the 2017 television interview. She returned to the attorney general’s office, where in 2014, Ms. Grisham fielded national press inquiries about a botched execution by the state. She described the condemned prisoner, who did not die for nearly two hours after being given a lethal injection, as “snoring” and said of the scene, “It was quite peaceful.”

Mr. Horne spent much of his tenure under investigation for alleged campaign finance violations.

When reporters from The Arizona Republic asked for public records related to the case, Ms. Grisham criticized their requests as “overreaching, an invasion of privacy and abusive use of your role in the media.” Mr. Horne lost his re-election bid and was fined in the campaign finance case.

Ms. Grisham next worked as a spokeswoman for the Arizona House’s Republican majority. In 2016 she revoked The Arizona Capitol Times’s press credentials four hours after the newspaper published an article, written by Hank Stephenson, detailing allegations that the House speaker, David Gowan, had traveled at state taxpayers’ expense while campaigning for Congress.

The fight culminated in Mr. Gowan requiring that reporters covering the Legislature submit to a personal and criminal background check. Those with convictions for serious crimes — and oddly, misdemeanor trespass — would be barred from the House floor.

Ms. Grisham billed the edict as a security measure. But Mr. Stephenson was the only Statehouse reporter with a trespassing charge on his record, related to a tavern fracas. Reporters refused to comply, and Mr. Gowan backed down.

Mr. Stephenson said he does not hold anything against Ms. Grisham, who often socialized with reporters in Phoenix, and even starred in a 2015 video made by The Capitol Times that spoofed her role as spin master.

Ms. Grisham intends to remain a behind-the-scenes player, a change from her predecessor as press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“She’s fun,” Mr. Stephenson said. “She has a reputation as someone who puts out fires. But she starts a number of fires herself.”

In mid-2015 Ms. Grisham began working for Mr. Trump’s campaign.

In December 2015 in Arizona, Ms. Grisham was arrested for driving under the influence. She pleaded guilty and was fined, and in August 2016 the court ordered her into a treatment program. It was a second offense: In 2013 she was arrested for driving under the influence, speeding and driving with an invalid license.

The 2013 charges were reduced in 2014 to reckless driving, according to court records. Ms. Grisham has told The New York Times that she complied with all sanctions and disclosed both episodes to the White House.

Last year, while working in the East Wing, she helped launch “Be Best,” an anti-cyberbullying, anti-opioid campaign. When news emerged that a Be Best guide called “Talking With Kids About Being Online” was actually created in 2009 by the Obama administration, Ms. Grisham began a fierce defense against the plagiarism charge.

“I encourage members of the media to attempt to Be Best in their own professions,” she said.

In the West Wing, friends and former co-workers say, Ms. Grisham intends to remain a behind-the-scenes player. But she has shown a willingness to publicly assail those who displease the president.

“People who survive and thrive in Trump world are the people who come to grips with the reality that you’re just going to have to go where Trump wants to go, and echo what the president says,” said Cliff Sims, a former White House aide and friend of Ms. Grisham’s.

On Mr. Trump’s trip to Asia in June, Ms. Grisham earned plaudits from reporters after confronting North Korean guards trying to bar American journalists from Mr. Trump’s meeting with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

During a news conference with Mr. Trump and the South Korean president, the Korean hosts asked Ms. Grisham to select an American reporter to ask a question. “I’m going to let our president choose,” she responded.

Mr. Trump beamed. “She’s learned very well,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Central Bankers Want to Keep Economies Growing, but Politicians Hold the Keys

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159536490_d83e364e-a558-4428-a619-86b4975648e6-facebookJumbo Central Bankers Want to Keep Economies Growing, but Politicians Hold the Keys United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Interest Rates Federal Reserve System European Central Bank Economic Conditions and Trends Draghi, Mario Banking and Financial Institutions

JACKSON, Wyo. — As top economists from around the globe gather for their annual conference at Jackson Hole this week, they will have a collective hope in mind: that the world’s political leaders will work to help safeguard economic growth.

Economies from the United States to the European Union to China are slowing, presenting a challenge for central bankers, whose tools are limited at a time when interest rates remain historically low in much of the world.

In the United States and Britain, central bankers are hoping that trade uncertainty and political strife will not kill long economic expansions. And from Australia to Europe, economic policymakers have been urging politicians to step up their spending, hoping that a hand from the government will spur consumption and keep their economies from tipping into recession.

But there is a vast divide between technocrats trying to salvage waning global growth and politicians with an eye on their voting bases.

President Trump is locked in a trade war with China, with the latest round of tariffs scheduled to take hold on Sept. 1, and he shows no intention of backing down. American tariffs on European automobiles remain a possibility. Britain is negotiating its exit from the European Union and the likelihood of a no-deal departure, which could be economically punishing for the country and its major trading partners, has escalated with Boris Johnson’s ascendance to prime minister.

Complicating matters is Mr. Trump’s view that what is good economically for other countries is bad for the United States — a position that has led him to criticize efforts by central banks to keep their expansions on track. On Thursday, he once again needled the Federal Reserve Board over Germany’s low interest rates, suggesting that negative interest rates on German bonds were putting the United States at a disadvantage.

“Germany sells 30 year bonds offering negative yields,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Germany competes with the USA. Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do. They put us at a disadvantage against our competition. Strong Dollar, No Inflation! They move like quicksand. Fight or go home!”

Global political brinkmanship is adding to uncertainty just as factories around the world slow production and businesses hold off on investment, stoking fears of a more concerted slowdown.

“Important countries are not in good shape,” said Roberto Perli, head of global monetary policy research at Cornerstone Macro, who said there was a risk of a significant and protracted global slowdown with the potential for outright recessions in some nations, like Germany. “It started for largely cyclical reasons, but since then, other factors have intervened — trade, most importantly.”

While central bankers strive to be politically independent and avoid giving elected leaders advice, they have acknowledged that government policies are threatening growth.

The Fed cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession in July, a move driven in part by Mr. Trump’s trade policies and partly by the broader slowdown in global growth. Jerome H. Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, speaks on Friday and is expected suggest that additional rate cuts are on the table without signaling how many or giving a specific timeline. Tariffs — and their likely escalation — are keeping the Fed and its global counterparts on edge.

“We’re in a period when the center of gravity, the fulcrum, of U.S. economic policy is probably away from monetary policy and more in the area of trade policy, immigration policy” and other political areas, said Robert S. Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in an interview at the Jackson Lake Lodge.

Mr. Kaplan said that it is “prudent to take more time” before deciding whether or not the Fed should cut rates again in September. He does not vote on monetary policy this year, but has a seat at the table where rate decisions are made.

Asked if he expect additional rate cuts this year, he said that he is “open-minded that we may need to make further adjustments to the fed funds rate beyond what we did in July.”

But central bankers have begun warning that their ability to defend their economies is limited, especially because many never managed to sustainably lift interest rates back from rock bottom after cutting them during and after the global financial crisis.

Many are looking to their political leaders — who will gather in Biarritz, France, for the Group of 7 meeting this weekend — to help keep the world’s prosperity going.

“Policymakers around the world pulled the easiest lever, which is the monetary lever,” Mr. Perli said. “The more a central bank eases, the less powerful monetary policy becomes. We are at the point where, if we want to accomplish something — especially in countries like Europe — the ball is in the fiscal policy territory.”

But “that’s complicated,” he said, “by budget constraints in some countries and political constraints in other countries.”

While consumer spending is holding up in the United States and growth remains decent, manufacturing is slowing and consumer confidence sank in August. Businesses reported holding off on investment as they waited to see how the trade war plays out.

Mr. Trump has also begun mulling more tax cuts to lift the United States economy, though on Wednesday he insisted that it did not need one right now. And the Fed has room to cut rates, should a recession hit. The challenge is primarily one of intense policy uncertainty.

Europe, by contrast, has negative interest rates and a fraught economic backdrop — and while that owes more to fundamentals and global spillovers than domestic politics, growth is getting little help from national governments. In Germany, where China’s slowdown is hurting the manufacturing sector and the economy contracted in the second quarter, the government has been slow to spend more aggressively. Italy is also struggling, but it already has a heavy debt load, limiting its room to maneuver.

The European Central Bank, which runs monetary policy for 19 European countries, is expected to cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and even consider asset purchases in a bid to protect growth — but it is low on ammunition.

“Monetary policy has done a lot to support the euro area and continues, as you can see today, to do a lot,” Mario Draghi, the outgoing head of the central bank, said at a news conference last month. “But if we continue with this deteriorating outlook, fiscal policy will become of the essence.”

German politicians do seem to be cracking open the door to more spending, with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz indicating that the government could make up to $55 billion available. For scope, that is equivalent to a little more than 1 percent of Germany’s economy. The United States’ crisis-era spending package amounted to more than 5 percent of its 2009 gross domestic product, albeit with spending that was spread out over several years.

“This is the best available countercyclical tool in Europe,” Krishna Guha, head of global policy and central bank strategy at Evercore ISI, wrote in a research note. But he cautioned against expecting too much. “Politics will slow and could jeopardize the move to fiscal stimulus in Germany.”

Mr. Draghi will not make an appearance at the Wyoming meeting this year, though other European Central Bank leaders will be in attendance.

Like Mr. Powell, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is paying attention to politically created risks. He warned in a recent BBC interview that a no-deal Brexit would create an “instant” shock. The bank had been setting up for potential rate increases, but investors increasingly expect cuts instead as global growth wanes and trade tensions loom large.

In Australia, the central bank has cut rates to record-low levels as the economy weakens and threats to the nation’s 28-year-old expansion loom large. The threats include precarious household consumption, the broader slowdown in Asia.

Politicians in the nation have passed a tax cut and engaged in infrastructure spending, but they are nevertheless headed for what may be their first budget surplus in more than a decade, underlining the limits to that support. Philip Lowe, the head of the Australian central bank, who speaks on Saturday in Jackson, suggested this month that it would be economically helpful if politicians raised unemployment benefit spending, Bloomberg reported — a policy change that the sitting government opposes.

Economic action might be needed sooner rather than later: Recession signals have been flashing in American bond markets, Japan and South Korea are engaging in their own trade war, and consumer and business confidence have taken a hit in many parts of the world. While recession far from guaranteed, it is looking increasingly likely across a number of economies, including the United States.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Federal Reserve and Other Central Banks Constrained by Politics

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159536490_d83e364e-a558-4428-a619-86b4975648e6-facebookJumbo Federal Reserve and Other Central Banks Constrained by Politics United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H Interest Rates Federal Reserve System European Central Bank Economic Conditions and Trends Draghi, Mario Banking and Financial Institutions

JACKSON, Wyo. — As top economists from around the globe gather for their annual conference at Jackson Hole this week, they will have a collective hope in mind: that the world’s political leaders will work to help safeguard economic growth.

Economies from the United States to the European Union to China are slowing, presenting a challenge for central bankers, whose tools are limited at a time when interest rates remain historically low in much of the world.

In the United States and Britain, central bankers are hoping that trade uncertainty and political strife will not kill long economic expansions. And from Australia to Europe, economic policymakers have been urging politicians to step up their spending, hoping that a hand from the government will spur consumption and keep their economies from tipping into recession.

But there is a vast divide between technocrats trying to salvage waning global growth and politicians with an eye on their voting bases.

President Trump is locked in a trade war with China, with the latest round of tariffs scheduled to take hold on Sept. 1, and he shows no intention of backing down. American tariffs on European automobiles remain a possibility. Britain is negotiating its exit from the European Union and the likelihood of a no-deal departure, which could be economically punishing for the country and its major trading partners, has escalated with Boris Johnson’s ascendance to prime minister.

Complicating matters is Mr. Trump’s view that what is good economically for other countries is bad for the United States — a position that has led him to criticize efforts by central banks to keep their expansions on track. On Thursday, he once again needled the Federal Reserve Board over Germany’s low interest rates, suggesting that negative interest rates on German bonds were putting the United States at a disadvantage.

“Germany sells 30 year bonds offering negative yields,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Germany competes with the USA. Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do. They put us at a disadvantage against our competition. Strong Dollar, No Inflation! They move like quicksand. Fight or go home!”

Global political brinkmanship is adding to uncertainty just as factories around the world slow production and businesses hold off on investment, stoking fears of a more concerted slowdown.

“Important countries are not in good shape,” said Roberto Perli, head of global monetary policy research at Cornerstone Macro, who said there was a risk of a significant and protracted global slowdown with the potential for outright recessions in some nations, like Germany. “It started for largely cyclical reasons, but since then, other factors have intervened — trade, most importantly.”

While central bankers strive to be politically independent and avoid giving elected leaders advice, they have acknowledged that government policies are threatening growth.

The Fed cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession in July, a move driven in part by Mr. Trump’s trade policies and partly by the broader slowdown in global growth. Jerome H. Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, speaks on Friday and is expected suggest that additional rate cuts are on the table without signaling how many or giving a specific timeline. Tariffs — and their likely escalation — are keeping the Fed and its global counterparts on edge.

“We’re in a period when the center of gravity, the fulcrum, of U.S. economic policy is probably away from monetary policy and more in the area of trade policy, immigration policy” and other political areas, said Robert S. Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in an interview at the Jackson Lake Lodge.

Mr. Kaplan said that it is “prudent to take more time” before deciding whether or not the Fed should cut rates again in September. He does not vote on monetary policy this year, but has a seat at the table where rate decisions are made.

Asked if he expect additional rate cuts this year, he said that he is “open-minded that we may need to make further adjustments to the fed funds rate beyond what we did in July.”

But central bankers have begun warning that their ability to defend their economies is limited, especially because many never managed to sustainably lift interest rates back from rock bottom after cutting them during and after the global financial crisis.

Many are looking to their political leaders — who will gather in Biarritz, France, for the Group of 7 meeting this weekend — to help keep the world’s prosperity going.

“Policymakers around the world pulled the easiest lever, which is the monetary lever,” Mr. Perli said. “The more a central bank eases, the less powerful monetary policy becomes. We are at the point where, if we want to accomplish something — especially in countries like Europe — the ball is in the fiscal policy territory.”

But “that’s complicated,” he said, “by budget constraints in some countries and political constraints in other countries.”

While consumer spending is holding up in the United States and growth remains decent, manufacturing is slowing and consumer confidence sank in August. Businesses reported holding off on investment as they waited to see how the trade war plays out.

Mr. Trump has also begun mulling more tax cuts to lift the United States economy, though on Wednesday he insisted that it did not need one right now. And the Fed has room to cut rates, should a recession hit. The challenge is primarily one of intense policy uncertainty.

Europe, by contrast, has negative interest rates and a fraught economic backdrop — and while that owes more to fundamentals and global spillovers than domestic politics, growth is getting little help from national governments. In Germany, where China’s slowdown is hurting the manufacturing sector and the economy contracted in the second quarter, the government has been slow to spend more aggressively. Italy is also struggling, but it already has a heavy debt load, limiting its room to maneuver.

The European Central Bank, which runs monetary policy for 19 European countries, is expected to cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and even consider asset purchases in a bid to protect growth — but it is low on ammunition.

“Monetary policy has done a lot to support the euro area and continues, as you can see today, to do a lot,” Mario Draghi, the outgoing head of the central bank, said at a news conference last month. “But if we continue with this deteriorating outlook, fiscal policy will become of the essence.”

German politicians do seem to be cracking open the door to more spending, with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz indicating that the government could make up to $55 billion available. For scope, that is equivalent to a little more than 1 percent of Germany’s economy. The United States’ crisis-era spending package amounted to more than 5 percent of its 2009 gross domestic product, albeit with spending that was spread out over several years.

“This is the best available countercyclical tool in Europe,” Krishna Guha, head of global policy and central bank strategy at Evercore ISI, wrote in a research note. But he cautioned against expecting too much. “Politics will slow and could jeopardize the move to fiscal stimulus in Germany.”

Mr. Draghi will not make an appearance at the Wyoming meeting this year, though other European Central Bank leaders will be in attendance.

Like Mr. Powell, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is paying attention to politically created risks. He warned in a recent BBC interview that a no-deal Brexit would create an “instant” shock. The bank had been setting up for potential rate increases, but investors increasingly expect cuts instead as global growth wanes and trade tensions loom large.

In Australia, the central bank has cut rates to record-low levels as the economy weakens and threats to the nation’s 28-year-old expansion loom large. The threats include precarious household consumption, the broader slowdown in Asia.

Politicians in the nation have passed a tax cut and engaged in infrastructure spending, but they are nevertheless headed for what may be their first budget surplus in more than a decade, underlining the limits to that support. Philip Lowe, the head of the Australian central bank, who speaks on Saturday in Jackson, suggested this month that it would be economically helpful if politicians raised unemployment benefit spending, Bloomberg reported — a policy change that the sitting government opposes.

Economic action might be needed sooner rather than later: Recession signals have been flashing in American bond markets, Japan and South Korea are engaging in their own trade war, and consumer and business confidence have taken a hit in many parts of the world. While recession far from guaranteed, it is looking increasingly likely across a number of economies, including the United States.

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Trump’s Waffling on Gun Control Confuses Legislative Picture

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-hulse-facebookJumbo Trump’s Waffling on Gun Control Confuses Legislative Picture United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party McConnell, Mitch mass shootings Law and Legislation gun control El Paso, Tex, Shooting (2019) Dayton, Ohio, Shooting (2019)

WASHINGTON — After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Senator Mitch McConnell had a message for his Kentucky constituents as his 2014 re-election fight loomed.

“I want you to know that I will be doing everything in my power as Senate Republican leader, fighting tooth and nail, to protect your Second Amendment rights,” Mr. McConnell, a staunch opponent of limits on gun ownership, said in an automated call. He then helped quash expanded background check legislation backed by President Barack Obama and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.

Responding to this month’s mass shootings in El Paso, Tex., and Dayton, Ohio, Mr. McConnell, his re-election fight again just ahead, was more measured. “Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part,” he said. But what exactly that “part” is has become increasingly unclear as the weeks pass.

Immediately after the shootings, President Trump opened the door to expanded background checks and other proposals to keep guns away from unstable people, eliciting Mr. McConnell’s promise to engage in talks about potential legislation. But the president then backed away from his position, saying that sufficient background checks were in place and the focus should instead be on mental health.

The retreat culminated in reports this week that Mr. Trump had told gun rights activists that he would not support universal background checks. Then the president muddled the issue yet again on Wednesday.

“I have an appetite for background checks,” he told reporters. “We’ll be doing background checks. We’re working with Democrats. We’re working with Republicans.”

Senate Republicans seem to have fallen into the morass. Top party members in the Senate have thrown cold water on the idea that Congress would pass even initiatives that enjoy bipartisan support, such as a national “red flag” law that would allow law enforcement and family members to go to court to get weapons removed from people who exhibit signs of being a danger.

Senator Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that he thought “the debate really hasn’t changed much at all” after the most recent shootings. He said he did not expect significant legislation to reach the president.

Yet other Republican senators said they remain engaged in substantive talks among themselves and with White House officials about expanded background checks, mental health provisions and other proposals. No one is backing away despite the president’s waffling, they said.

“I have urged all parties to come together and come up with a responsible gun safety package that can pass the Senate,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.

Mr. McConnell is famously loath to press forward with any legislation that sparks division among Republicans. He had to be strong-armed into bringing a criminal justice overhaul to the floor despite backing from the president and the vast majority of Senate Republicans because of the objections of a handful of vocal conservatives.

He also often cites an unwillingness to press legislation that Mr. Trump does not wholly support, saying it is a waste of time to send legislation to the president’s desk only to draw a veto. “I want to make a law, not just see this kind of political sparring going on endlessly, which never produces a result,” he said during an interview with a Louisville radio station when discussing gun legislation this month.

So if Mr. McConnell is looking for a way out of taking up gun safety legislation, he can just point to the president’s perceived opposition, throw in some criticism of Democrats and gun control activists for overreaching and try to move on.

Democrats say they do not intend to make it easy for him to do so.

“Senator McConnell has been begging President Trump to let him off the hook when it comes to passing universal background checks legislation to address the gun violence epidemic,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “But on behalf of the families of the victims of gun violence and the 90 percent of Americans who support universal background checks, Senate Democrats will keep the pressure up and not let Senator McConnell off the hook.”

A refusal to take action not only would draw the condemnation of Democrats, but it could also further endanger some Republicans facing re-election — and, by extension, the party’s control of the Senate. Despite strong opposition from the gun lobby, expanded background checks and some other gun restrictions draw support from most voters in polls, particularly the women and suburbanites that senators such as Cory Gardner, the embattled Colorado Republican, will need next year to hold on to their seats.

Gun safety advocates say that they employed the issue in 2018 to oust a House Republican from Colorado, and that they intend to keep the heat on Mr. McConnell.

“I think that the question McConnell is going to have to answer is, is he going to send his members home empty-handed after a series of unspeakable tragedies,” said John Feinblatt, the president of the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Yet another gun stalemate in the Senate is likely to amplify one of the new nicknames for Mr. McConnell, “Massacre Mitch,” derived from his blockade of gun legislation, including a House-passed background check bill that Democrats want to be the basis of any final legislation.

Mr. McConnell not only has an extensive personal record in support of gun rights, but has also extended his pro-gun views to his main senatorial passion — judicial confirmations — by pushing the installation of judges and Supreme Court justices with an expansive view of the Second Amendment while opposing those he considers suspect on the issue.

McConnell allies note that he has not opposed all legislation arising out of past shootings and that he supported a plan to bolster school safety programs and to improve the record-keeping used in background checks.

Still, Republican colleagues say they were somewhat surprised by Mr. McConnell’s embrace of negotiations over new gun legislation. At the same time, Democrats viewed Mr. McConnell’s position as barely sufficient to ease the pressure on him. And they believed it helped him justify his refusal to bring the Senate back from recess to act on proposals, an approach that sapped some momentum from the drive for legislation.

The outcome will be impossible to predict before lawmakers, now scattered across the country on their August recess, return to Washington in early September to consult with one another in person. Any legislative progress will ultimately require the endorsement of the president, Democrats’ willingness to accept less than they would have preferred, and a calculation by Mr. McConnell that the political reward for gun legislation exceeds the political risk.

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Budget Deficit on Path to Surpass $1 Trillion Under Trump

Westlake Legal Group 21DC-DEFICIT-01-facebookJumbo Budget Deficit on Path to Surpass $1 Trillion Under Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J National Debt (US) Federal Taxes (US) Federal Budget (US) Congressional Budget Office

WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit is growing faster than expected as President Trump’s spending and tax cut policies force the United States to borrow increasing sums of money.

The deficit — the gap between what the government takes in through taxes and other sources of revenue and what it spends — will reach $960 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. That gap will widen to $1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office said in updated forecasts released on Wednesday.

The updated projections show deficits rising — and damage from Mr. Trump’s tariffs mounting — faster than the office had previously predicted. In May, the budget office said it expected a deficit of $896 billion for 2019 and $892 billion for 2020.

That damage would be even higher if not for lower-than-expected interest rates, which are reducing the amount of money the government has to pay to its borrowers. Still, the 2019 deficit is projected to be 25 percent larger than it was in 2018, and the budget office predicts it will continue to rise every year through 2023.

By 2029, the national debt will reach its highest level as a share of the economy since the immediate aftermath of World War II.

The increasing levels of red ink stem from a steep falloff in federal revenue after Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which lowered individual and corporate tax rates, resulting in far fewer tax dollars flowing to the Treasury Department. Tax revenues for 2018 and 2019 have fallen more than $430 billion short of what the budget office predicted they would be in June 2017, before the tax law was approved that December.

The need to borrow more money has been aggravated by several bipartisan budget agreements to raise military and nondefense domestic discretionary spending.

And it could increase if the trade war further chills business investment and consumer spending, resulting in slower economic growth and fewer tax dollars flowing to the Treasury Department.

“One likely reason for the lower-than-expected receipts is that some parts of the economy have been weaker than C.B.O. projected in April 2018,” the budget office said. “A number of developments other than the tax act appear to have contributed to that weakness, including increases in tariffs, greater uncertainty about trade policy and slower economic growth in the rest of the world.”

The ballooning defies a historic trend: Typically, the budget deficit shrinks when unemployment is low. But it is increasing despite the longest economic expansion on record and the lowest jobless rate in 50 years.

It also underscores the degree to which Republicans in Washington — who championed fiscal responsibility under President Barack Obama, a Democrat — have largely abandoned that goal. While lawmakers continue to talk about the need to reduce the deficit, it is no longer the kind of animating issue that ushered the Tea Party into power.

Mr. Trump has shown little inclination to prioritize deficit reduction, and has instead considered policies that would add to the debt. The president has mused in recent days about reducing the taxes that investors pay on capital gains, a move that is estimated to add $100 billion to deficits over the next decade. He has also talked about cutting payroll taxes, which could reduce revenues by $75 billion a year for every percentage point cut in payroll tax rates.

Mr. Trump backed away from both ideas in comments to reporters on Wednesday, though it is unclear if the new deficit figures played any role in that reversal.

The president also wants to make permanent many of the temporary individual tax cuts contained in the 2017 law, which are scheduled to expire in 2025. The budget office forecast assumes those cuts expire and tax revenues rise; if they do not, future deficit projections would be even larger.

Mr. Trump’s indifference to deficits has shattered his campaign promise not only to balance the budget, but also to pay off the entire national debt. And it has left his fellow Republicans, who pushed through deficit-reduction measures under Mr. Obama when the economy was still fragile, in a bind. Congressional Republicans have largely gone along with Mr. Trump’s moves to add more debt, even as they insist they will return to shrinking the deficit if Mr. Trump wins a second term in office.

The deficit has now risen four consecutive years, and is on track to rise for the next four. Such a streak would break the record for longest run of deficit increases in recorded American history — five years, from 1939 to 1943 — according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization that advocates deficit reduction.

Congress could vote in the coming weeks to send Mr. Trump additional deficit-increasing legislation, like the permanent repeal of a health care tax known as the Cadillac tax, which has already cleared the Democratic-controlled House. Members of both chambers are preparing for a potentially bruising debate over how to allocate the money needed to fund the government before Oct. 1.

Conservative groups — which largely supported Mr. Trump’s tax cuts — have pushed Congress to cut future deficits by reducing benefits for federal health care and retirement programs, like Medicare and Social Security. “Something must be done soon,” the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks said in a news release on Wednesday, “and that means taking a hard look at mandatory spending, the root cause of the United States’ fiscal woes.”

Republicans do not believe Mr. Trump is likely to push for cuts to a pair of popular retirement programs — and risk exposing himself to attacks in a re-election campaign — before a second term. But they acknowledged that efforts to curb the projected growth in so-called mandatory federal spending were warranted.

“We’ve got to fix that,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate. “It’s going to take presidential leadership to do that, and it’s going to take courage by the Congress to make some hard votes. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

“I hope in a second term, he is interested,” Mr. Thune said of Mr. Trump. “With his leadership, I think we could start dealing with that crisis. And it is a crisis.”

Other Republicans say pushing through any changes to safety-net programs will require a compromise that draws in both political parties.

Reducing the costs of Social Security, Medicare and other contributors to the debt is “usually best done during divided government,” said Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming. “We’ve brought it up with President Trump, who has talked about it being a second-term project.”

Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said that “it probably takes a second-term president” to prioritize the issue. “It’s politically difficult to say you’re going to save Social Security, because most people think, well that means cutting benefits,” he added.

Other lawmakers in both chambers said that Congress had abandoned all appearance of caring about the national deficit.

“I don’t know, maybe they should be honest with the American people and say that they don’t care about reducing spending,” said Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a fiscal hawk who recently broke ties with the Republican Party. “There’s no incentive within Congress to keep the debt down. That’s just not something they’re interested in. They believe they can keep spending forever. They never feel they’re going to be held accountable for it.”

Congressional Democrats have walked a line on the deficit, criticizing Republicans for the tax law but providing the bulk of the votes to pass the most recent spending increases, including one that ended the threat of sequestration, the process of sweeping cuts across all government agencies and programs.

“It’s just not financially sustainable at all,” said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana. “Even though I hated sequestration with a passion, I don’t think that gives you the right to just go out and spend money and put the whole economy on a sugar high. And that’s going on right now.”

Many of the party’s leading candidates for president have proposed large increases in government spending, like Medicare for All, that would need to be financed by tax increases or additional government borrowing. Candidates have proposed rolling back the Trump administration’s tax cuts and imposing new taxes on the wealthy and high earners, while some in the party have pushed their leaders to effectively mimic Mr. Trump’s approach to the deficit — spending more without simultaneously raising taxes.

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Job Gains Were Weaker Than Reported, by Half a Million

Westlake Legal Group 21jobs-facebookJumbo Job Gains Were Weaker Than Reported, by Half a Million United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Recession and Depression Labor and Jobs Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employers added a half-million fewer jobs in 2018 and early 2019 than previously reported, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The revisions, which are preliminary, are part of an annual process in which survey-based estimates are brought into alignment with more definitive data from state unemployment insurance records. Wednesday’s revision covers the period through March; final updates, which will include the rest of 2019, will be released in February.

The revisions don’t change the overall picture of a healthy job market. But they do mean that 2018, which had ranked among the strongest years of job growth in the decade-long recovery, was weaker than previously believed. After the revision, hiring probably averaged under 200,000 jobs per month last year, down from the 223,000 initially reported and only modestly better than the 179,000 monthly jobs added in 2017.

Wednesday’s update is also the latest evidence that the economy got less of a jolt from President Trump’s tax cuts than it initially appeared. Last month, the Commerce Department lowered its estimate of economic growth in 2018.

The revisions hit consumer-oriented industries particularly hard. Retailers cut nearly 150,000 more jobs than initially reported, while hiring in leisure and hospitality — which includes restaurants, hotels and entertainment — was significantly weaker than believed. But the transportation and warehousing sector, which has been booming because of the rise in online shopping, added nearly 80,000 more jobs than previously reported.

Wednesday’s revision was the largest in recent years, but it didn’t come as a total surprise. Many economists had expected job growth to level off in 2018 as the unemployment rate fell and employers struggled to find workers.

“The pace of job growth in 2018 was a significant upside surprise,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist of Amherst Pierpont Securities, an investment firm. “The revision kind of brings things back into line with what the original thought process had been.”

Investors in recent weeks have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of a recession, and the Federal Reserve last month cut interest rates in an effort to stave off a downturn. Guy Berger, chief economist for the career-focused social network LinkedIn, said the recent revisions were a reminder that official statistics often struggle to pick up turning points in the economy until it is too late.

But Mr. Berger added that the evidence so far suggested that growth was cooling, not grinding to a halt.

“I don’t look at any of these things and say, ‘Wow, we’re on the tip of a recession,’” he said.

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Job Growth Was Weaker Than Believed, Government Says

Westlake Legal Group 21jobs-facebookJumbo Job Growth Was Weaker Than Believed, Government Says United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Recession and Depression Labor and Jobs Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employers added a half-million fewer jobs in 2018 and early 2019 than previously reported, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The revisions, which are preliminary, are part of an annual process in which survey-based estimates are brought into alignment with more definitive data from state unemployment insurance records. Wednesday’s revision covers the period through March; final updates, which will include the rest of 2019, will be released in February.

The revisions don’t change the overall picture of a healthy job market. But they do mean that 2018, which had ranked among the strongest years of job growth in the decade-long recovery, was weaker than previously believed. After the revision, hiring probably averaged under 200,000 jobs per month last year, down from the 223,000 initially reported and only modestly better than the 179,000 monthly jobs added in 2017.

Wednesday’s update is also the latest evidence that the economy got less of a jolt from President Trump’s tax cuts than it initially appeared. Last month, the Commerce Department lowered its estimate of economic growth in 2018.

The revisions hit consumer-oriented industries particularly hard. Retailers cut nearly 150,000 more jobs than initially reported, while hiring in leisure and hospitality — which includes restaurants, hotels and entertainment — was significantly weaker than believed. But the transportation and warehousing sector, which has been booming because of the rise in online shopping, added nearly 80,000 more jobs than previously reported.

Wednesday’s revision was the largest in recent years, but it didn’t come as a total surprise. Many economists had expected job growth to level off in 2018 as the unemployment rate fell and employers struggled to find workers.

“The pace of job growth in 2018 was a significant upside surprise,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist of Amherst Pierpont Securities, an investment firm. “The revision kind of brings things back into line with what the original thought process had been.”

Investors in recent weeks have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of a recession, and the Federal Reserve last month cut interest rates in an effort to stave off a downturn. Guy Berger, chief economist for the career-focused social network LinkedIn, said the recent revisions were a reminder that official statistics often struggle to pick up turning points in the economy until it is too late.

But Mr. Berger added that the evidence so far suggested that growth was cooling, not grinding to a halt.

“I don’t look at any of these things and say, ‘Wow, we’re on the tip of a recession,’” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com