Business Economists Blame Trade Tensions for Expected Decrease in Economic Growth As Hiring Slows

Economists pointed to President Donald Trump's global trade disputes as a factor motivating decreased economic growth in the National Association for Business Economics survey released on Monday.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said Trump's protectionist measures had hurt their companies, while seven percent said the policies had improved business. Thirty-two percent of respondents said that tariffs had not impacted their businesses. Two-thirds of goods-producers said the tariffs had negatively affected business.

The respondents reported falling sales and increased costs for materials, a NABE press release said. The survey depicted weakening U.S. economic growth over the next 12 months. Despite the concerning signs, the economists surveyed said they still expected economic growth in the next year.

"The U.S. economy appears to be slowing, and respondents expect still slower growth over the next 12 months," NABE President Constance Hunter said in the press release. "Many of the survey indicators in this report are at their lowest levels in several years. It is important to note, however, that all respondents still expect the current economic expansion to continue over the next 12 months."

Of those polled, one-fifth of economists said that they had hired more workers in the last three months, a figure the Associated Press said represented at seven-year low. The survey also found that wage and salary growth "was much less widespread at respondents' firms in the third quarter of 2019 than in the previous four years."

Though Trump has regularly touted his economic record, the NABE results put expansion expectations significantly below what the president has sought. The Trump administration has yet to achieve a full year of its 3 percent growth target, and respondents to the NABE survey did not expect future growth to approach such levels. Rather, over two-thirds of economists surveyed said that they expected real GDP growth between 1.1 and 2 percent over the next year. One-fifth predicted economic growth beyond 2 percent--a sizable decrease from the nearly half who predicted such growth in the July survey.

Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. and China would be agreeing to a "phase one" trade deal, which would involve Beijing buying tens of millions of dollars of agricultural products from the U.S.

However, as Trump seeks to shore up the trade war with China, he has escalated tensions with other countries. After the World Trade Organization said that the U.S. could levy $7.5 billion in tariffs against the European Union for illegal subsidies the bloc gave to Airbus, Washington imposed tariffs on a range of European goods.

Traders work after the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 28 in New York City. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images