Economy will be 'strong factor' aiding Trump's re-election despite Boeing hit, Mnuchin says

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attends a session at the Congres center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 21, 2020.


The strength of the U.S. economy will prove to be an important factor when voters head to the polls in November, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, despite a slew of headwinds that could weigh on growth this year.

Mnuchin warned earlier this month that U.S. growth may not hit Trump’s pledged 3% growth in GDP (gross domestic product) in 2020.

Speaking to CNBC at the G-20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, Mnuchin said disruptions at Boeing could cause a 50 basis point drag on growth, compounded by General Motors strikes and the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

“But the real impact in terms of the American economy, wages are going up, more jobs are being created and more people are coming back into the workforce than ever before,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

“(GDP) is a global statistic, the statistic people really care about is are they working, are they getting more jobs, are they getting more pay? And on that basis, we’re getting all As.”

U.S. unemployment recently hit a 50-year low, continuing a consistent downward trend set in motion in 2010. Real average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm employees increased 0.6% from January 2019 to January 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.6-percent decrease in the average workweek resulted in essentially no change in real average weekly earnings over this period,” the Bureau said in a report Friday.

Mnuchin told CNBC he saw the economy being a very “strong factor” in the president’s re-election. “And as you look at the U.S. economy relative to the world economy, the U.S. is the bright spot on world growth,” he said.

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