Trump’s Economic Vows May Be Harder to Hit After a Slow 2016

While Friday’s report will provide more support for Mr. Trump’s argument, the lackluster pace of economic growth may also complicate the new administration’s plans. Indeed, some of the headwinds in 2016 — like a widening trade deficit and cautious spending by businesses — could persist into 2017 and beyond.

In particular, lower exports and higher imports also hurt growth in the fourth quarter, which fell to an annual rate of 1.9 percent from 3.5 percent in the prior quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday.

In 2016, personal consumption — which accounts for a majority of economic activity — slowed from 2014 and 2015. In addition, the sharp plunge in oil prices over the same period prompted steep cuts in energy production and exploration, contributing to a drop in business investment.

All of this underscores why analysts…

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