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How Job Growth has Nothing to do with Trump

While job growth is rising, the credit should not go to Trump

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Sep 27, 2017

“Excellent Jobs Numbers just released – and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!" Trump tweeted on Friday, August 4. Judging by this and other tweets like it, it would be easy to assume that the job situation and the U.S. economy have never been better. 

Well, not so fast. According to economic experts like Robert Dauffenbach from the University of Oklahoma, this year’s job growth is on track to add the fewest jobs in the past seven years.

In 2016, the nation added an average of 194,000 jobs per month for the first seven months of the year, while 2017 has seen an average of 184,000 per month for the exact same period of time. Both years are down from its peak in 2014, when the nation was able to add 300,000 jobs some months, totaling close to 3 million jobs for the year.

Dauffenbach credits the unprecedented job growth of 2014 to what he describes as the nation’s fortunate recovery from the Great Recession of 2008. He has said that former President Obama does deserve some credit for pulling the nation out of the muck. However, he pointed out that presidents don’t typically influence the economy very much at all.

“It’s very hard to ascribe our economic situation to a president,” Dauffenbach told The Journal Record. “We have an $18 trillion-plus economy, and it doesn’t move around much. And when it does, it moves slowly.”

So, how much credit for the economy should go to Trump? “I would say almost none,” said Anirban Basu, an economist, and CEO of Sage Policy Group in Baltimore, Maryland. “Any president who had been in office for the neighborhood of eight months would receive little credit or blame for the performance of the economy.”

A president could legitimately claim some credit for the economy had he been successful in passing an infrastructure plan or stimulus package, but so far, the Trump administration has not gotten these major job programs done. What we are actually seeing is a continuation of the consumer-led economic recovery, which is now in its ninth year. This is creating jobs at a healthy pace in the manufacturing, trade, and healthcare industries.

Overall, economists agree the jobs picture is bright in the nation right now, but it’s not just because of the president.  

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