A little preventative fact-checking

Ahead of this evening’s State of the Union address by President Trump, were he is expected to congratulate himself on engineering a turnaround in the US economy, I thought it would be useful to present just a few data points:

Employment growth in the US in 2016 (under President Obama) totaled 2.25 million. In 2017, under President Trump, the figure was 2.04 million.

Real wage growth (monthly average) in 2016 was an almost non-existent .007 percent. In 2017, the average monthly real wage increase was .003 percent.

Labor force participation at end-2016 stood at a troublingly low 62.7 percent. After a year under President Trump the corresponding figure is….62.7 percent.

The US stock market surged in 2017, rising by 19.5 percent. That compares to (in US dollar terms) 21.6 percent for all stock markets, 34.3 percent for emerging markets, 25.3 percent for the euro area, and 21.8 percent for Japan.

A few straightforward conclusions from this:

  • The US economy in 2017 was essentially the same economy as it was in 2016. Same strengths, same weaknesses.
  • The US is participating in a global cyclical upswing. Most countries and all regions are experiencing strong macroeconomic results.
  • There does not appear to be any positive Trump effect. Macro results are good, but no better than before.


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