Optimists look for the silver lining on a cloud; pessimists measure darkness around the sun. What do you do with a silver lining on a sun? That is what we have with Trump’s roaring economy.
Numbers just released make the past three years great, and next three rock solid – if Trump is re-elected. Here is what they are telling us.
First, the stock market – keeper of pensions, 401(k) retirements, 529 education plans, and broader equity holdings – just set another record, 29,000. Behind that jump is a mountain of good data.
Start with basics, employment across all demographics, including women. If you have watched unemployment fall for three years, inflation level, opportunities, labor participation, productivity, wages and consumption accelerating, you know we are on a roll.
How about this: Total non-farm jobs are proliferating, no sign of slowing. Men and women are both gaining year over year, and “women outnumbered men in the workforce” in December “for first time since 2010,” says the Wall Street Journal.
Peel back the data; you discover something else. That analysis is incomplete. Working women outnumbered men in 2010, but this was because more men lost construction and manufacturing jobs. In 2020, it’s the reverse – healthy competition for new jobs, millions each year, across all sectors.
Expanding sectors include energy, healthcare, education, hospitality, transportation, financial services, and others. Last month, unemployment was again at “a 50-year low” of “3.5 percent.”
Liberal economists suggest minorities are not benefiting, gains miss “under-employment.” Both assertions are patently false. As the Wall Street Journal confirms, “employers are adding jobs, despite low unemployment, by pulling workers off the sidelines – including women, Hispanics, blacks and those with lower levels of education that have historically faced barriers to employment.”
On “under-employment” – the assertion that jobs are part-time – wrong again. “An alternative measure, which captures underemployed and those marginally attached to the workforce … fell by 6.7 percent” in December, the “lowest on record back to 1994.”
As job growth expands, disposable income grows, leading to new consumer spending, business investment, employment and confidence. Further education is encouraged by mobility, and wages rise as competition for workers widens.
In short, Trump has seeded a “virtuous cycle,” driven by reduced regulation, lower taxes, increased comparative advantages in international trade, fewer “transactions costs,” “rigidities,” and inefficiencies domestically – as well as a more secure border.
Without making too sharp a point, the President – by contrast to Democratic detractors – believes in average Americans. He believes in their decision-making, on spending, investing, employment, education, savings and retirement. He believes in capitalism, the freedom-centric “yin” to democracy’s freedom-centric “yang.” He trusts individuals more than government.
What other good news? A bunch. Average hourly earnings – even following strong years – is above inflation. Wages of rank-and-file workers grew faster than overall earnings. And a bit growth predictor – housing starts – is at the highest level in 12.5 years.
This remarkable economic news is not lost on minorities. The Washington Examiner recently reported that a Zogby Analytics survey found “African American support is at the ‘highest levels of the year,’ driven by a strong economy, historically low black unemployment, and Trump’s agenda to support minority small businesses, historically black colleges and universities, and passage of criminal justice reform.” Zogby is not alone.
In other polls, Trump is scoring big. Real Clear Politics notes, “The Hill published a poll in September showing [Trump’s] Hispanic approval at 37 percent,” while “a November Emerson poll found … 38 percent Latino approval.” And that Emerson poll “rocked the political world with a 34 percent approval rating for the president among black voters.” Success is something, isn’t it?
Good news keeps rolling: Under the “phase-one” trade deal with China, they will purchase $200 billion in US products, giving US farmers and manufacturers income security. Bigger gains lie ahead. New phases will pry open China’s markets, reduce tariffs, restore fairness to the World Trade Organization, tamp currency manipulation, reduce pilfering of US intellectual property, and codify gains. In short, expect a second Trump administration to compound gains.
Perhaps biggest are gains for women. Trump does not get enough credit here. Obama’s unemployment rate for women was 7 percent in 2009 and hit 9 percent in 2010. Trump’s unemployment rate for women was 4.9 percent in 2016 and hit 3.5 percent in 2019. Today, the unemployment rate for women is at a 60-year low.
Likewise, American women started 1,800 businesses per day last year, and 64 percent of women-owned businesses were “women of color.” You will not read this elsewhere: Women-owned businesses registered a 3 percent profitability gain last year, household income hit a 20-year high, poverty an 18-year low. These are big numbers.
More than a quarter of Trump’s cabinet is women, and one of his top advisers is his daughter – who has pushed childcare credits, education and women’s issues. On the numbers, Trump is as pro-women as any president in modern history. Do not expect the media to say so.
Net-net, economic gains across America – in every demographic – continue to break records, reset expectations, advance the lot of individuals, families and communities. In an imperfect world, these gains should not be overlooked. They are stunning liberal economists. The President’s approach is working. He believes in individual liberty, and that belief is generating results.