Monday, April 15, 2019

'Jobs, jobs, jobs' by the numbers - no credit for Trump

Trump is a habitual cherry-picker when it comes to taking credit or blame. If things are going well, he gloms onto the credit; if things are going badly, it’s always someone else’s fault. Employment is a case in point.

Here are State unemployment rates over the last 10 years, seasonally adjusted from the Buereau for Labor Statistics. I pulled the table into Excel, averaged over months per year per state and then averaged over states to get overall rates per year for the whole country.
Year Rate
2009 8.73
2010 8.89
2011 8.31
2012 7.51
2013 6.91
2014 5.94
2015 5.17
2016 4.81
2017 4.31
2018 3.91
From 2010 on, there is an almost perfect linear relation showing consistently lower rates, year by year. That trend includes Trump’s two years in office (2017 and 2018). So, on this analysis, there is nothing special about Trump’s economic policies that cannot be explained by a long-term economic trend begun during the Obama administration - no matter what Trump says.

Speaking of “jobs, jobs, jobs”, Professor Aaron Sojourner tweeted this interesting graph.

Jobs, jobs,jobs
Trump takes credit for Obama economics
It shows the number of jobs being added each year. Not surprisingly, given that job growth is inversely related to declining unemployment, the same kind of linear trend describes these data. The interesting thing is what Trump said/says about job growth. He was critical of employment stats during the Obama years, but then, once in office, he took credit for all of it. Those observations are based on the annotations on the graph. Observe how little Trump had to say about the economy during the Obama administration. Compare that to the explosion of comments about jobs during the two years of Trump.

Taken together, the employment statistics are a product of processes begun during the Obama years. Trump, the habitual liar, deserves no credit at all for any of it.

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