Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip style is delivering a new age of uncertainty across much of America and the world — clouding business forecasts, puzzling investors and potentially threatening the president’s own reelection prospects.
Evidence of the confusion and anxiety is piling up. The global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index in June hit its highest level ever, eclipsing periods after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis — two stretches during which U.S. recessions were already underway and employers were slashing jobs.
Now, Trump-related uncertainty dominates talk among corporate executives on earnings calls and during discussions at the U.S. Federal Reserve. Companies are reining in capital spending and slowing their hiring plans, unsure what the unpredictable president might do next and whether it will help tip the U.S. from slowing growth into recession. Taken together, the mosaic of data and anecdotes suggests traits that helped drive Trump into the White House — his promises to rip up trade deals and demolish the status quo — could undermine his own economy and imperil his chances for a second term.