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RECORD SCRATCH

Donald Trump’s record on the economy

Donald Trump in front a microphone on a lawn.
Retuers/Carlos Barria
An economic success?

How does the Trump administration’s economic success compare to its predecessors? The charts below can give you a good idea. They’ll update automatically as new data are released—all the way through election day.

Economic growth

This is the most obvious way to measure the health of the US economy. GDP is effectively the sum of all commerce. It continued to grow under Trump but collapsed after the outbreak of Covid-19. GDP figures are updated quarterly.

Unemployment

The portion of the workforce looking for a job also shot up. Unemployment figures are released monthly.

Labor force participation

The portion of the working-age population employed or looking for a job is at at a historic low, following a slight uptick before the pandemic. These data are updated monthly.

Poverty

The poverty rate has declined under the Trump administration, but we won’t have data about the pandemic’s effects on the measure until 2021.

Industrial production

Industrial production is the measure of activity in manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, and gas utilities. The pandemic temporarily erased a decade of gains. The data are updated monthly.

Corporate profits

Corporate profits had been relatively stable during the Trump administration through 2019. Profits then fell in the first two quarters of 2020, as is typical during recessions. The data are updated quarterly.

Farm income

Farm income has been rising, but is still below the highs seen under Obama, when corn prices skyrocketed. These data are updated annually.

Trade

Despite his fixation with the figure, the US trade deficit has remained generally unchanged under Trump. Nominal trade balance information is updated monthly. GDP-adjusted figures are updated quarterly.

The stock market

Stocks are near record highs under Trump, but those gains have come with lots of volatility.

Wages

Wages have continued their growth under Trump and spiked after 35% of the lowest-wage earners lost their jobs in 2020, boosting the average. These data are updated quarterly.

Federal budget balance

The federal budget deficit expanded under Trump as his tax cuts reduced government revenue. It is updated annually.

Public debt

Higher government spending—combined with reduced economic activity during the pandemic—caused the US’s debt to balloon in proportion to GDP. New figures are released quarterly.

Coal mining jobs

Employment in coal mining remained constant for much of Trump’s term, but the pandemic hit miners hard. These data are updated monthly.

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