Trump’s ‘Fantastic’ Friday Consumer Numbers Are Tough to Find

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that “fantastic” consumer-spending numbers were released on Friday. What he’s referring to is a mystery.

While Trump frequently touts strong economic reports and says the U.S. economy is in the best shape of all time -- a statement disputed by historians -- Sunday’s comment on consumer spending didn’t follow any widely known data. In the same tweet, he correctly cited the S&P 500 stock index’s record-high close.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The only U.S. economic report released Friday was July’s figures on purchases of durable goods from manufacturers -- items meant to last at least three years, including airplanes, appliances, machinery and vehicles.

That report is considered a barometer of demand from businesses, and the latest data showed a positive trend in capital-equipment orders at the start of the third quarter. At the same time, Bloomberg economists pointed to numbers in the report that were consistent with a moderation in consumer spending in the second half.

In any case, other recent reports show consumption remains solid, so Trump doesn’t need to cite nonexistent numbers.

Retail sales in July rose more than forecast, government figures showed Aug. 15, and Target Corp. reported strong quarterly results last week. Target Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said it’s possibly the strongest consumer environment he’s seen in his 37-year career.

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