FactCheck.org

Trump’s Numbers (First Quarterly Update)

Summary

In the time Donald Trump has been in the White House:

  • Job growth slowed, but unemployment still sank to the lowest rate in 17 years.
  • Economic growth quickened to 2.3 percent last year, but that was roughly half the rate Trump promised.
  • The growth of federal regulations slowed markedly.
  • The number of murders continued to rise, going up 1.5 percent during the first six months of 2017.
  • Illegal border crossings dropped 40 percent — but are on the rise again.
  • Corporate profits set a new record; wages rose 1.2 percent after inflation.
  • Home prices rose 6.4 percent — nearly triple the rate of inflation.
  • Stock prices soared; the S&P 500 index rose 17 percent, despite recent turmoil.
  • The U.S. trade deficit grew nearly 17 percent larger, despite Trump’s promise to reduce it.
  • The federal debt rose 6.9 percent, and annual federal deficits worsened.

Analysis

This is our first quarterly update of the “Trump’s Numbers” scorecard that we posted in January. We’ll publish additional updates every three months, as fresh statistics become available.

As always, starting when we posted our first “Obama’s Numbers” article more than five years ago — and in the quarterly updates and final summary that followed — we’ve included statistics that may seem good or bad or just neutral, depending on the reader’s point of view. 

We’ll say again, opinions will differ on how much credit or blame a president deserves for things that happen during his time in office. And we urge readers to be aware that some changes that have happened already during Trump’s time in office won’t show up in statistics until later updates. FBI crime figures for all of last year won’t be available until later this year, and the same goes for Census Bureau poverty and household income figures for 2017. We’ll cover those and more in quarterly updates to come.

Jobs and Unemployment

Job growth has slowed since Trump took office, but unemployment dropped to the lowest level in 17 years. Job-seekers became more scarce, and employers struggled to find workers.

Employment — Total nonfarm employment grew by more than 2.5 million during the president’s first 14 months in office, according to the most recent figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s steady, solid growth to be sure, continuing an unbroken chain of monthly gains in total employment that started in October 2010.

But the average monthly gain under Trump is 181,000 jobs, which is nearly 17 percent below the monthly average of 217,000 during Obama’s second term.

Trump will have to pick up the pace if he is to fulfill his campaign boast that he will be “the greatest jobs creation president that God ever created.”

Unemployment — One reason for the slowdown in job growth: fewer job-seekers. The unemployment rate — which was well below the historical norm when Trump took office — has continued to fall even lower, to the lowest point in 17 years.

The rate was 4.8 percent when he was sworn in, and Janet Yellen, then chair of the Federal Reserve, said the economy at the time was already close to what economists consider “full employment.

Under Trump, the

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