Trump likes to boast about how well the economy was doing before the pandemic hit. Yet the reality is that real wages were stagnant for working-class Americans, the country was already in a manufacturing recession, farm bankruptcies were at an eight year high, and job growth for President Trump’s first three years in office was 15 percent below Obama’s last three years in office. It is that economy that President Trump characterized as “record breaking” and the “greatest economy the world has ever seen.”
He is also asking Americans to treat the last six months, the most devastating and sudden recession in recorded history, as an asterisk to his record. But, the current recession is arguably more tied to his direct decisions than any recession in history. At every decision point, President Trump has taken positions that ensured this recession would be deeper and more prolonged. Every president faces profound tests, but none have failed theirs at the magnitude that he has.
The president has insisted that workers, families, and children risk their lives amidst a pandemic that he has let spin out of control, setting back economic recovery. He has refused to negotiate on a serious response to crush the virus and get our economy back on track. That means right now — in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression — jobless workers have seen their lifelines cut off, communities don’t have the resources they need to open schools safely or control the virus, and small businesses aren’t getting the help they need to survive.
So when President Trump talks about his record breaking economic performance, keep in mind these records. Every president owns their performance, and his excuse is only further condemnation.
- Trump is the worst jobs president in recorded history, currently presiding over a loss of 6 million jobs from when he took over. In fact, he is on track to be the only president to have actually lost jobs over his term.
- 1.3 million fewer Black workers are currently employed than when Trump took office. No other president has presided over a net decrease in Black employment since at least before the Ford Administration, when this started to be tracked.
- 600,000 fewer Latino workers are currently employed than when Trump took office. Again, no other president has seen Latino employment drop over his presidency since at least the Ford Administration, when these records began to be kept.
- U.S. GDP contracted at an annual rate of 31.7 percent in the second quarter of 2020 — the largest drop ever recorded.
- The week ending March 28 saw close to 7 million Americans file for unemployment, the highest weekly number of unemployment claims in recorded history, reaching nearly seven times higher than the highest figure recorded before Trump’s presidency.
- Consumer confidence saw its sharpest drop since 1952, when this first started being tracked.
- Internationally, the U.S. is the only major industrial economy to see its unemployment rate triple during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s more than twice as high as South Korea’s, two and a half times higher than the United Kingdom’s, and more than three times as high as Japan.