FARGO-A nationally known economist who worked on Donald Trump's presidential campaign gave a Fargo audience his take on Trump's personality and performance as president during a keynote address at the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber's annual Economic Outlook Forum held Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Delta by Marriott.

Stephen Moore, who has written on the economy and public policy for the Wall Street Journal, said that during his first meeting with Trump he realized something unexpected.

Moore said some politicians can appear charming in public but act like jerks in private. With Trump, the converse is true, according to Moore, who said he found Trump very personable.

He added that after traveling the country during the campaign and talking to everyday people who supported Trump he told Trump: "I don't know if I love you, but I sure love your voters."

Moore said that while he isn't always happy with Trump, he believes his policies will result in economic growth of 3 to 4 percent in both 2018 and 2019, growth he says will help reduce the nation's debt load.

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Moore also had good things to say about North Dakota and its business climate, stating he expects North Dakota's economic success will help lead the way to economic health across the nation in the coming years.

He said the shale oil and natural gas drilling in North Dakota over the past decade or so ranks among "the great stories of the American economy."

During Tuesday's forum, Scott Green, Fargo market president at Starion Bank, summarized the chamber's 2018 Economic Outlook Survey, which found that 68 percent of local businesses responding to the survey indicated they were meeting or exceeding business expectations.

"I think that's outstanding," Green said.

Looking at 2018, top issues identified as concerns for businesses included finding qualified job applicants and the low number of applicants for job openings, Green said.

Top challenges identified by businesses included concerns about employee expenses and product prices, according to Green, who said 75 percent of the businesses responding to the survey had been in business 10 years or more.

The number, he said, "speaks to the stability of our marketplace."