Trump Administration Sees Slowing Job Growth, While Job Growth Soared Under Obama

The job market has added 5.6 million jobs in the Trump administration's first 29 months, compared to 6.4 million in Obama's first 29 months.

donald trump and barack obama at trump's inauguration
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The job market has added 5.6 million jobs in the Trump administration's first 29 months, compared to 6.4 million in Obama's first 29 months.

Job growth has slowed under the Trump administration, despite the president’s insistence on pointing to “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” as a sign of a strong economy under his administration, economist Rick Newman says.

Writing in Yahoo Finance, Newman makes two key points before getting into the meat of the differences in job growth under the two administrations. First, he notes that the economy is unambiguously booming under Trump, and coinciding with the strong economy is strong job growth, which has brought with it an increase in employees’ hourly wages as well.

What Trump and his supporters fail to take into account, writes Newman, is the fact that both the strong economy and strong job growth are trends Trump inherited from the Obama administration. And as to job growth, it is in fact slowing under Trump.

To understand the full picture, it is important to go back to the devastating recession of 2007-2009. By some measures, it took years for the economy to recover. However, by 2010, the economy had recovered many of the jobs lost in that recession, and since then it has consistently been adding jobs. 2014 was the peak year for job growth in this period, with the economy adding 3 million jobs, or 251,000 per month.

However, job growth has since slowed. During the past 12 months, the economy added 2.3 million jobs, or 192,000 per month. During the first six months of 2019, the economy has added 172,000 new jobs per month.

The slowing job growth is not necessarily a bad thing, however. In fact, Newman points to it as evidence that the economy is so strong that the labor market is tightening up, meaning there are fewer qualified people to fill such jobs. And with a tightening labor market comes higher wages.

But all of this, Newman writes, has to be understood in the larger context. Namely, that Trump isn’t solely responsible for the booming economy and its benefits. Trump inherited both of these things from the Obama administration, Newman claims.

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However, Obama does not deserve all of the credit, either. As Newman writes, “Partisans engage in mortal combat over who deserves more credit for the solid labor market — Trump, or President Obama before him. It’s a silly argument… There’s no reason to think presidential policies (or character) have had much to do with the [economic headlines].”

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 06: Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to young leaders from across Europe in a Town Hall-styled session on April 06, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Obama spoke to several hundred young people from European government, civil society and the private sector about the nitty gritty of achieving positive change in government and society.
  Sean Gallup

Of course, the big question is, what does all of this mean for Trump’s re-election chances in 2020? It is no secret that a strong economy helps the incumbent when it comes to presidential elections. If the economy is still strong in 2020, Democrats will have a hard time convincing voters that it has its roots in the Obama administration.