Trump’s Pre-Coronavirus Economy Was Fragile

Trump says that before the pandemic hit, he created the best economy ever. But the truth is that job and wage growth slowed, manufacturing was in a recession, other industries lagged, and Americans were struggling to pay their bills. His fragile economy made the impact of the pandemic worse than it had to be.

Trump failed to achieve 3% GDP growth in his first three years.

Washington Post: “The report is the latest acknowledgment by the Trump administration that the economy is unlikely to grow at 3 percent or faster, a goal Trump has yet to achieve in his presidency. The economy grew 2.3 percent last year, 2.9 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent in 2017, according to the Commerce Department.”

Low- and middle-income Americans were struggling to pay their bills.

Pew Poll: “Two-thirds of lower-income adults (65%) say they worry almost daily about paying their bills, compared with about one-third of middle-income Americans (35%) and a small share of upper-income Americans (14%).”

Trump created far fewer jobs than most of his recent predecessors.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: “If the pace of job growth over Trump’s first three years continues, he would close out four years in January with a total gain of 8,745,333 jobs (up 6% since taking office) – roughly in the middle of the pack for recent presidents.  Among those ranking better: Bill Clinton’s first term (up 11.6 million jobs, or 10.5%), Clinton’s second term (up 11.3 million jobs, or 9.3%), Ronald Regan’s second term (up 10.8 million jobs, or 11.2%), Obama’s second term (up 10.4 million jobs, or 7.7%).”

Median household income under Trump was lower than in 1999.

FactCheck.Org: “According to the ‘estimated adjusted’ figures Census officials published to reflect the change, the median household income in 2018 was less than it was in 1999 – $63,231.”

Job growth in construction, manufacturing and mining lagged last year.

New York Times: “Over the last year, the president’s economic policies have not delivered anything close to the miracle he had promised to white working-class voters in the industrial Midwest. Combined employment in construction, manufacturing and mining grew more slowly last year than at almost any other point in the current expansion.”

There were a record number of low-wage workers last year.

Washington Post: “There were a record 53 million low-wage workers last year, or about 44 percent of all active workers in the United States. More than half were women. Two-thirds were in their prime earning years. Forty percent were supporting children at home. They earned a median annual salary of $17,950.”