Richard Nixon may have had an enemies list, but U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he has an account of his accomplishments in office that’s “four pages long.”
Trump said as much at a rally in Biloxi, Miss., where he campaigned one day before a Senate runoff election that is pitting Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith against Democrat Mike Espy.
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As he talked about measures that his administration has passed, Trump told the crowd he has a “list, literally, that’s four pages long.”
“I don’t want to bore you, we’d just go point after point after point,” he said.
“This has never happened.”
Trump then went on to a familiar refrain.
“Nobody has ever done so much in the first two years of a presidency as this administration, nobody, nobody,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has mentioned a list of accomplishments at one of his rallies.
He also brought it up at a rally in Las Vegas in September — when he pulled out two sheets of paper and said his list was “four and a half pages” long.
The points he listed came off a list that’s available on the White House website.
Of course, it’s an open question as to how much credit the president can claim for some of these achievements.
The first item on the list is that almost four-million jobs have been created since the 2016 election.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indeed shows that over four million jobs had been created from December 2016 to August 2018, covering the period leading up to the September rally in Las Vegas.
But job creation was on an upward trajectory since October 2010, when Barack Obama was president.
In that time, the biggest months for job creation were January 2012 (348,000 jobs), May 2015 (326,000 jobs) and October 2015 (351,000 jobs).
The biggest month under Trump’s presidency came in February 2018, when 324,000 jobs were created.
A graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that job growth has been consistent for years.
This graph shows month-over-month job gains in the U.S. from 2008 to 2018.
The White House also listed as one of Trump’s achievements, “more Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history.”
That may be referencing a record-low unemployment rate.
As The Wall Street Journal noted last month, the U.S. unemployment rate has hit 3.7 per cent, the lowest it’s been since December 1969.
The Journal went on to note that the jobless rate hit 2.5 per cent in 1953, when the Korean War ended — at no time in Trump’s presidency has it fallen below 2.5 per cent, or even 3.7 per cent.
At that time, there were 81.62 million people in the labour force. In September 2018, there were 161.93 million, it reported.
So in terms of raw numbers, there are of course more people working today. But the U.S. certainly hasn’t hit its lowest point when it comes to the share of employed people.
To consider unemployment rates in isolation is to omit other factors that places those numbers in context, however.
President Donald Trump gestures as he acknowledges the fake snow that fell as he entered the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for a rally Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Biloxi, Miss.
As the unemployment rate has continued to fall, so too has the labour participation rate, which is now hitting some of the lowest levels it’s reached in a decade.
Labour force participation refers to the number of people employed or looking for work.
The participation rate in October 2008 was 66 per cent.
Last month, it was 62.9 per cent — up from the previous month, which was a 10-year low.
In fact, those numbers represent a decline compared to where participation was in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, as the following chart demonstrates.
This chart shows labour force participation in the United States from 1948 to the present.
That is, of course, just two items on a long list.
Nevertheless, their inclusion raises questions about what else the Trump Administration can take credit for.
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