How the US economy has performed under Trump in five charts

“It’s the economy, stupid!”

That phrase was famously at the centre of Bill Clinton’s election-winning strategy in 1992 and the lesson was not forgotten by Donald Trump when he campaigned for office.

While running for president in 2016 he talked about raising the annual rate of GDP growth to more than 4% and since then has even suggested – to some scepticism – that it could climb as high 6%.

Official figures show that while the economy has been growing well during his term in office – until the pandemic – it has largely fallen short of Mr Trump’s optimistic promises.

Jobs have been another key theme – again skewed by the pandemic.

A record 20.8 million jobs were lost in April and a record 4.8 million added in June.

The pace of the recovery in the employment market has slowed more quickly than expected and only 661,000 were added in September.

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On the other hand unemployment has fallen back more quickly than many had expected to less than 8%, from nearly 15% earlier in the year at the height of the pandemic.

After the 2008 financial crisis – when joblessness never touched the same heights as during the pandemic – the jobs recovery took much longer.

Meanwhile on Wall Street, investors have liked a lot of what they have seen from Mr Trump – especially when it comes to tax cuts and rolling back regulation.

But there has also been some volatility, notably over the president’s trade war with China.

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How to win a US election

New York’s Dow Jones, like other stock markets, plunged earlier this year at the start of the coronavirus but has since recovered sharply.

However the bounce-back is largely attributed to investors – helped by unprecedented stimulus from the US Federal Reserve – piling into tech stocks such as Apple, Amazon and Tesla rather than more traditional big companies, which have recovered more slowly.

And on that trade war with the world’s second biggest economy – there have been plenty of warnings that it will hamper overall growth.

That might not matter to Mr Trump, if his main goal is to shrink the trade gap between goods and services exported by US and imported from the rest of the world.

So how’s that going?

In August the trade deficit with the rest of the world rose to a 14-year high of $67.1bn.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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