The third quarter of President Donald Trump’s second year in office has come to an end, and FactCheck.org’s third quarterly update of “Trump’s Numbers” is out — and the numbers regarding job creation and the economy are impressive.
The report includes raw data on everything from employment numbers to federal debt and, according to FactCheck.org, “we’ve included statistics that may seem good or bad or just neutral, depending on the reader’s point of view.”
- The jobless rate dropped to the lowest in nearly half a century, and the number of unfilled job openings hit a record high.
- Economic growth spurted to a 4.2 percent annual rate in the most recent quarter.
- Median household income rose to the highest level ever recorded in 2017. Poverty declined.
- The growth of federal regulations slowed, and has lately reversed.
- Crime rates declined. The number of homicides went down 0.7 percent last year after rising for the previous two years.
- Carbon emissions rose. Coal mining jobs went up a bit.
- Corporate profits, stock prices and home values set record highs.
- The trade deficit grew larger.
- The federal debt increased by nearly $1.4 trillion, more than 9 percent. Yearly deficits increased.
- The U.S. image abroad plunged.
Some high points from the report:
Jobs and Unemployment
Jobs and unemployment has slowed a bit under Trump, but unemployment is at its lowest level in just less than 50 years.
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 a full 1.1 percentage point lower.
The rate was 4.8 percent when he was sworn in, and fell to 3.7 percent in September. The last time it was that low was October of 1969 — nearly 49 years earlier.
The historical norm is 5.6 percent, which is the median monthly rate for all the months since the start of 1948. The lowest unemployment rate ever recorded was in 1953, when the rate was 2.5 percent for a couple of months.
The economy is growing fast under Trump, hitting 4.2 percent GDP in the second quarter of 2018.
That’s up from the 2.2 percent increase during his first year, followed by a 2.2 percent yearly rate in the first quarter of 2018, according to the most recent estimate of the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s the “real” rate of growth in gross domestic product after accounting for price inflation.
Corporate profits have skyrockets under President Trump, with after-tax profits hitting an annual rate of $1.96 trillion in the second quarter of 2018, the highest ever recorded.
In our July update, we reported that full-year profits also set a record in 2017, but that’s no longer the case. After we posted that update, BEA on July 27 revised its GDP figures (of which corporate profits are one element) going back to 1929. As currently estimated, the $1.83 trillion in profits in 2017 was an increase of 5.4 percent over 2016, but still just shy of the $1.86 trillion now recorded for 2014 — the current full-year record.
After-tax profits are getting a boost this year from the tax cut Trump signed into law Dec. 22, dropping the top federal tax rate on corporate income to 21 percent, from 35 percent.
The stock market has set record upon record since Trump took office, even with some recent market volatility.
Despite the recent market tumble, at the close on Oct. 11 the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock average was 20.5 percent higher than it was on the last trading day before Trump’s inauguration, and only 6.7 percent below the most recent record high set on Oct. 3.
Other indexes rose even more. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, made up of 30 large corporations, was up nearly 27 percent under Trump. And the NASDAQ Composite index, made up of more than 3,000 companies, was 32 percent higher than before Trump took office.
The number of food stamp recipients has gone down considerably, reaching the lowest number since November of 2009, falling by nearly 3.8 million, or 8.8 percent since his inauguration.
The number generally has been going down since peaking at nearly 47.8 million in December 2012, as the economy recovered from the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The numbers jumped up in August, September and October last year as part of the federal government’s disaster relief efforts following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and after wildfires in eight Western states. But that increase proved to be a temporary blip in the downward trend.
President Trump has made remarkable strides in turning the Supreme Court to the right, naming Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the court.
But the Kavanaugh nomination to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement is significant because Justice Kavanaugh may move the court to the right. He is considered more conservative than Kennedy, who sometimes sided with the liberal justices to provide deciding votes on issues including gay rights, abortion, capital punishment and affirmative action.