DONALD TRUMP’S campaign slogan promised to “Make America Great Again”. Mr Trump is now 500 days into his presidency, and seems ready to proclaim victory. The president reckons that a strong economy and soaring confidence are a result of his policies. “Best Economy & Jobs EVER,” he tweeted today. Dissenters assert that Mr Trump is reaping the benefits of policies enacted by the previous administration and that he has achieved little beyond a tax cut that favours the rich. In an effort to peer through the partisanship The Economist has compiled 11 charts that keep tabs on Mr Trump as he progresses through the remaining 961 days (at least) of his presidency.
Mr Trump admitted he was “very proud” when the stockmarket rallied after his inauguration. During his first year in office he tweeted 14 times about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index tracking 30 big American firms. The president likes to take credit for the Dow’s performance; it has risen24% since he took office. But what goes up often comes down.
On the campaign trail Mr Trump stated that he would grow the economy by “four percent” a year, or perhaps as much as “six percent”. Many reckon this extremely unrealistic: GDP growth has averaged 2.6% a year over the previous 30 years. In Mr Trump’s time in office, it has risen by 2.52%on an annualised basis.
During the financial crisis America’s debt rose from 60% to 100% of GDP over six years. A big borrower when he was in business, Mr Trump is now less keen on debt: he accuses his predecessor of “bankrupting” the country to enrich donors. Althoughthe stock of debt has remained steady so far the tax plan passed in December may push it up higher.
America last ran a trade surplus in 1975 and Mr Trump thinks that is an embarrassment. The president has promised to fix it with his deal-making skills. Thus far he has withdrawn from a pending Pacific trade deal and is renegotiating NAFTA, and he is now threatening a full-scale trade war. In the three months to March 2018 the trade deficit was 0.44% of GDP higherthan it was when Mr Trump took office.
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Mr Trump inherited a healthy labour market upon entering office. The jobless rate fell from a 26-year high of 10% in 2009 to 4.8% in January 2017. It has since fallen another 0.9percentage points as of May 2018. Mr Trump claimed in August that “unemployment is at a record low” but it needs to fall by a further 1.3percentage points to beat the record of 2.5% set in 1953.
201012141618202224130140150160170▶︎TRUMPOBAMA◀︎Target of 25m jobs over ten years
On the campaign trail, Mr Trump promised to create 25 million jobs in a decade, a sustained rate of job growth never seen before. There were another 15.8m employed in January 2017, when Mr Trump took office, than in the depths of the Great Recession. A further 2.1mhave since found work. So far, he is146,163 jobs behind his target’s schedule.
20091011121314151617189095100105110▶︎TRUMPOBAMA◀︎All wage earnersAll non-supervisory rolesManufacturing, non-supervisory
American blue-collar workers have suffered a chronic lack of earnings growth in recent years. From 2009-17, wage-earners’ real pay increased an average of just 0.5% per year, and stagnated among manufacturing workers. Since Mr Trump took office pay for all wage earners hasincreased by 0.6% a year on average, and for manufacturing workers it has risen by 1.1%.
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Controlling immigration was a cornerstone of Mr Trump’s election platform. While progress on a border wall with Mexico has been slow, rhetoric alone seemed enough: apprehensions at the Mexican border—a proxy for illegal immigration—fell 75% in the six months following Mr Trump’s victory. But they have since risen. While deportations have fallen,arrests of immigrants have risen13.4% since Mr Trump took the oath.
While Mr Trump seems willing to engage in a sparring match with foreign leaders on Twitter he has not yet started any new wars. He was opposed to the war in Iraq, after he was for it, and blamed the rise of ISIS on the “weakness and incompetence” of the Democrats. In an effort to reduce the threat of Islamic extremism Mr Trump has so far committed an additional 6,162troops to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.