US economy grew 2.9 percent in 2018, just below Trump's goal

US economy grew 2.9 percent in 2018, just below Trump's goal
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The U.S. economy grew 2.9 percent in 2018, a strong rate that fell short of the Trump administration’s goal for yearly gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

The 2.9 percent GDP growth last year, reported by the Commerce Department on Thursday, was one-tenth of a percentage point below President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE’s promise of 3 percent yearly growth.

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The economy slowed to an annualized growth rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, following 3.4 percent in third quarter and 4.2 percent in the second quarter.

The pace of GDP growth accelerated under Trump, who helped stimulate an already strong economy with stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut. But GDP growth on a yearly basis has fallen short of the ambitious 3 percent goal set by the president and his advisers.

As a candidate, Trump promised years of growth above 3 percent after relatively sluggish growth under former President Obama. His administration brushed off criticisms from liberal and conservative economists who doubted that the U.S. economy could sustain that level of growth.

Unemployment has dropped to near record lows under Trump, and the U.S. has seen faster wage growth and minimal inflation. While the economy appears to be in good shape for the immediate future, 2018 could end up being the high point of the Trump administration.

Economists in the public and private sectors expect economic growth to cool in 2019, and several expect the U.S. to face a recession within two years. Economic slowdowns in Europe and China, trade tensions and financial market volatility are also threatening to hinder the U.S. economy.