Original Press Release
Huether Says Rising Exports Help Keep Economy Afloat
Press release date: January 30, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 30, 2008 - The National Association of Manufacturers Chief Economist David Huether said today's report of weak economic growth underscores the need for the economic growth initiative now before Congress.
"Though a rising tide of exports is helping keep the economy growing at a modest pace, the biggest quarterly decline in residential investment in a quarter century underscores the need for aggressive action," Huether said.
The Commerce Department's advanced report on the Gross Domestic Product released today said the nation's economy rose at an annual rate of only 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, meaning the economy rose by only 2.2 percent over the course of the year, the slowest pace in five years.
"The deceleration of GDP growth last quarter was mainly due to the ongoing housing recession," Huether said. "Fortunately, continued growth in business investment and an improving trade balance together offered a positive counterweight to the downturn in housing, adding as much to GDP growth as residential investment took away."
Adjusted for inflation, U.S. exports grew by 7.9 percent last year, which Huether said is almost four times the 2 percent rate of growth of imports. "Excluding imports of petroleum products, which now constitute a majority of our country's trade imbalance, the U.S. trade deficit stood at just 2.3 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter. That is the lowest level since 1999 and a 40 percent improvement in just the past three years."
In addition to the economic growth package, Huether said that Congress can help boost the economy even more by moving ahead with free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea. "This will lower barriers currently imposed on U.S. goods overseas and boost U.S. exports even more. In this difficult time, we need to recognize that our export sector is a key strength and build on it."
The NAM's 2008 Economic Outlook is available at nam.org/08outlook
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
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