Sorry Donald: The Economy Is About the Same as Usual

Donald Trump is whining again:

The #FakeNews MSM doesn’t report the great economic news since Election Day. #DOW up 16%. #NASDAQ up 19.5%. Drilling & energy sector way up. Regulations way down. 600,000+ new jobs added. Unemployment down to 4.3%. Business and economic enthusiasm way up- record levels!

Let’s check this out. The Dow is definitely up, but the rest is a little dicier. First up is “Drilling & energy sector way up.” If Trump is talking about energy stocks, he’s wrong: the S&P 500 Energy Sector has been dropping all year and is well below its Election Day level. The real world looks pretty flat too:

Next up: “Regulations way down.” How do you even measure this? Congress has killed off about a dozen Obama regs that took effect a few months ago, but that’s a drop in the ocean. And I assume that routine rulemaking has continued in the meantime. I think it’s safe to say that federal regulations aren’t “way down,” but beyond that there’s no good way to evaluate this so early in Trump’s term.

Next up: “600,000+ new jobs added.” True enough. But not so impressive compared to Obama’s second term:

Next up: “Unemployment down to 4.3%.” That’s true. But once again, nothing to brag about compared to the trendline Trump inherited:

Next up: “Business and economic enthusiasm way up- record levels!” Consumer sentiment is pretty easy to measure. If we give Trump credit for everything since Election Day, he produced a nice jump in December, but nothing much since then:

As for business sentiment, I’m not sure how to measure it. How about looking at business fixed investment in equipment? That should provide a decent idea of how optimistic businesses are feeling right now. Here it is:

Basically, both the stock market and consumer sentiment got a bit of a kick from Trump’s election but have been pretty flat since then. All the other stuff is either normal or a bit lower than Obama’s record. For the last several years the economy has been good but not great. It still is.


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