BISMARCK — Members of North Dakota's congressional delegation largely shrugged off concerns over the economy this week as experts warned of a coming recession.
In an interview after speaking with veterans groups in Bismarck Tuesday, Aug. 20, Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer said ongoing trade disputes remain a "scary" variable, but he highlighted solid job growth and other "fundamentals."
"I think the economy is fine," he said.
A National Association for Business Economics survey released Monday found 72% of economists believe the U.S. will enter a recession in 2020 or 2021. This week, President Donald Trump said his administration was eyeing a payroll tax cut to stimulate the economy, The Washington Post reported, but he later said he was no longer considering that.
A bond market indicator helped stoke fears of a recession last week, and the Federal Reserve lowered the benchmark interest rate a few weeks ago in what was pitched as a proactive move against the effects of Trump's trade disputes and economic slowdowns elsewhere.
Republican Sen. John Hoeven said "overall" indicators on the economy remain positive, but he said recessions are a natural part of economic cycles. When it happens and how severe it will be remains to be seen.
"We'll see," he said. "I'm not too much into the predicting or prognosticating business."
Hoeven was concerned about how trade disputes have affected the state's agriculture industry — federal stats suggest North Dakota has been the hardest hit in the immediate region — but he said farmers still are supportive of the administration's goal to create better access to markets.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., suggested recent concerns about the economy were overblown but likewise said farmers in the state were worried about trade. He called for the passage of a new North American trade deal as the conflict with China drags on.