It didn’t take long for letters to start appearing in the Star Democrat extolling the performance of the economy under Donald Trump, repeating Trump’s mantra of it being the “best economy ever.” However, the facts speak otherwise.
Let’s look at job growth. During Trump's first 36 months in office, the US economy gained 6.6 million jobs. But during a comparable 36-month period at the end of Obama's tenure, employers added 8.1 million jobs, or 23% more than what has been added since Trump took office. Looking at it another way, the average monthly jobs gain under Trump is 182,000 jobs. During the last 36 months under Obama, employers were adding an average of 224,000 jobs a month. President Jimmy Carter (a favorite whipping boy of conservatives) recorded a gain of 10.1 million jobs at this point in his single term in office, and the economy added 8.5 million jobs during the first 36 months of Bill Clinton's term, for an average job gain of 280,600 per month and 236,000 per month respectively. Note that this comparison ignores the massive loss of jobs in the past 6 months due to Trump’s gross mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so is actually more favorable towards Trump.
Looking at job growth as a percentage of the population (which is the best way because it takes into account population growth) makes the Trump administration’s jobs performance even worse compared to other presidents. Through February of this year, there was a 5% growth in jobs under Trump. This is only the 11th best record out of the last 20 presidential terms, hardly anything to write home about. And both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton’s jobs growth as a percentage of the population were significantly better than Trump’s given their higher job growth amounts and the differences in the US population.
If we take into account the job losses over the last 6 months, the job growth picture grows bleaker for Trump. According to the Labor Department, from January 2017 (Trump’s Inauguration) through August of this year, the US economy has lost 4.7million jobs. It’s interesting to note that the only other president in the last 80 years to own an overall loss in jobs between his inauguration and the following election was another Republican, George W. Bush in 2004.
So Trump and his administration is at best an average job creator (ignoring pandemic job losses), and one of the worst in recent times when the pandemic job losses are included.