Sorry Donald: The Economy Is About the Same as Usual

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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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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