Do good economic numbers help Trump?

The Lead political panel discusses

Posted: Dec 9, 2017 10:32 AM

"JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!"

Those were the words President Donald Trump tweeted on the first Friday in November when the Labor Department reported 261,000 jobs had been created the previous month. The figure was later revised downward to 244,000, but it was still a decent report.

The latest numbers announced Friday by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics show 228,000 jobs were created last month. Trump will surely claim credit for this "achievement" as well.

Trump has touted the monthly jobs report numbers repeatedly throughout the year, and especially in the past month. Even on Thanksgiving, Trump tweeted: "HAPPY THANKSGIVING, your Country is starting to do really well. Jobs coming back, highest Stock Market EVER..."

The President also used the jobs number as a justification for his endorsement of accused child molester Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore. "Putting Pelosi/Schumer Liberal Puppet Jones into office in Alabama would hurt our great Republican Agenda," Trump tweeted on Monday. He added: "Look at your 401-k's since Election. Highest Stock Market EVER! Jobs are roaring back!"

But the reality is much different from the picture the President paints. In fact, it turns out he is a much better salesman than statistician.

The US economy has created 1.9 million jobs so far this year, according to Trump's own Labor Department. That's not bad, but during the same period, from January through November of last year, the economy created nearly 2.1 million jobs. Trump took office on January 20, 2017, but even if you remove January from the equation, the numbers still favor Obama. From February to November last year, the economy created 1.96 million jobs. During the same period this year, it created 1.7 million jobs.

Jobs are not "roaring back," as Trump claims. The job market is actually underperforming compared to last year. Average monthly job growth was 190,000 in the first 11 months of 2016, according to BLS. This year BLS figures show it has fallen to 174,000 per month.

The October 2017 numbers (244,000) from BLS were the strongest in Trump's presidency so far, and the only time the economy has gained more than 240,000 jobs in any month this year. The numbers may sound impressive when Trump brags about them, but the BLS reports that the economy added more jobs on three occasions (297,000 in June, 291,000 in July and 249,000 in September) last year under Obama.

Despite Trump's claim in February that he inherited a "mess" from Obama, he actually inherited a stable economy in the midst of the longest streak in history of consecutive monthly job growth, according to MarketWatch. Obama, on the other hand, inherited a failing economy that was losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month after the nearly fatal financial collapse and Bush recession, according to the Labor Department.

Of course, the economy goes up and down in cycles, and it's debatable how much influence any president can exert to control it. The job market affects real people, from schoolteachers to pipefitters to independent contractors, so this should not be a competition between presidents. The problem is that Trump has made the economy into a contest with his predecessor because of his longstanding disdain for President Obama.

Remember, Trump was campaigning around the country complaining that the economy was a disaster in the summer of 2016 when BLS reported American businesses created 764,000 jobs. But now Trump thinks the economy is roaring after creating only 556,000 jobs this past summer, according to BLS.

Trump never gave credit to Obama for the jobs numbers in 2016. Back then, he claimed the unemployment numbers were "one of the biggest hoaxes in modern politics." Then, after he took office, he instructed former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to change his tune about the Labor Department figures: "They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now," Spicer told reporters in March.

For a president who has passed no major economic legislation to impact the economy, it's the height of hubris for Trump to take credit for presiding over the continuation of the Obama recovery. But, remember, Trump is first and foremost a salesman.

Even when it comes to the stock market, Trump loses to Obama. No doubt, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has performed well this year. From January 20, 2017, until the market closed on Thursday, the Dow rose from 19,827 to 24,211, a 4,384 point gain, according to MarketWatch.

But compare those numbers to Obama's first year in 2009. The Dow rose from 7,949 on Obama's Inauguration Day in January 2009 to 10,390 on December 7, a gain of 2,441 points, according to MarketWatch. If you just look at the numbers, it looks like the market performed better under Trump. However, if you look at the percentages, you see the reality. The Dow rose nearly 31% in those first 11 months under Obama and only 22% this year under Trump, the MarketWatch figures show.

Yes, the economy is doing relatively well right now, but based on the numbers, that's nothing for Trump to brag about.

Terre Haute
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Robinson
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 39°
Indianapolis
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 57°
Rockville
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 42°
Casey
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 51°
Brazil
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Marshall
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
A Cool, Sunny Weekend
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 272517

Reported Deaths: 8647
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1375805150
DuPage16488550
Lake16175484
Will13211370
Kane12444325
St. Clair6184182
Madison5231130
Winnebago5098149
McHenry4350118
Champaign429020
Peoria313048
McLean308919
Rock Island272770
Kankakee260976
Unassigned2242236
Sangamon220344
Kendall186025
LaSalle156854
Tazewell151115
DeKalb140638
Macon133734
Coles132428
Williamson128934
Jackson122024
Clinton102220
Boone99923
Adams95610
Randolph90311
Effingham7981
Whiteside67219
Grundy6165
Morgan61221
Henry6105
Monroe60515
Ogle6046
Vermilion5684
Knox5653
Bureau55710
Jefferson54437
Union49324
Marion4810
Franklin4732
Macoupin4706
Stephenson4536
McDonough43815
Logan4241
Christian41210
Woodford3835
Jersey37313
Cass37211
Iroquois34519
Shelby3424
Perry33214
Crawford3301
Lee3191
Montgomery30912
Fayette3003
Warren2941
Livingston2935
Bond2764
Douglas2725
Lawrence2422
Saline2403
Wayne2345
Jo Daviess2262
Moultrie2063
Greene2053
Carroll2024
Cumberland1894
Jasper1869
Hancock1823
Washington1791
White1550
Pulaski1531
Clark1442
Johnson1420
Fulton1400
Clay1370
Wabash1361
Richland1354
Piatt1300
Mercer1245
Mason1181
Menard1120
Edgar1085
Pike1041
De Witt931
Ford914
Massac902
Marshall850
Gallatin682
Scott670
Alexander651
Hamilton630
Henderson620
Edwards600
Stark492
Schuyler440
Putnam400
Brown360
Calhoun340
Hardin330
Pope251
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 109683

Reported Deaths: 3495
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20510758
Lake10095315
Elkhart6268107
St. Joseph593596
Allen5849198
Hamilton4589109
Vanderburgh322728
Hendricks2617120
Monroe230036
Johnson2236122
Tippecanoe214213
Clark208156
Porter201144
Cass19239
Delaware182460
Vigo173822
Madison154675
LaPorte135137
Floyd128661
Howard126163
Kosciusko117417
Bartholomew114257
Warrick109335
Marshall97524
Boone94046
Dubois92718
Hancock89842
Noble86932
Grant85833
Henry74224
Wayne73614
Jackson7279
Morgan68538
Shelby66129
LaGrange62911
Daviess62827
Dearborn61628
Clinton59012
Harrison55124
Putnam5159
Lawrence50028
Montgomery49521
White47514
Knox4689
Decatur45039
Gibson4444
DeKalb43111
Miami4223
Greene41335
Fayette41213
Jasper3752
Steuben3577
Scott35010
Sullivan32612
Jennings30712
Franklin29325
Posey2910
Clay2885
Orange28124
Ripley2788
Carroll26713
Wabash2588
Washington2511
Wells2462
Starke2457
Whitley2446
Jefferson2383
Adams2343
Fulton2292
Tipton21522
Huntington2123
Spencer2074
Randolph2037
Perry19914
Newton16711
Jay1660
Owen1641
Martin1570
Rush1494
Pike1341
Vermillion1240
Fountain1152
Pulaski1131
Blackford1092
Brown993
Crawford990
Parke932
Benton880
Ohio767
Union760
Switzerland670
Warren381
Unassigned0225