How GDP Growth Under Trump Compares To Clinton, Obama And Other Presidents

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With the presidential election less than a week away, Americans are weighing the two presidential candidates and choosing which is best for the country over the next four years —if they haven't already voted.

One way they can do that is by looking back on the first term of President Donald Trump and comparing the impact his policies have had on the country to previous administrations.

Trump’s GDP Numbers: Trump has campaigned as the best choice for the U.S. economy. Trump often uses the stock market as a scorecard for his policies, but the best representation of the real U.S. economy is gross domestic product.

Here’s a look at annual U.S. GDP growth during Trump’s presidency. The 2020 estimate comes from the Federal Reserve:

  • 2017: +2.3%

  • 2018: +3%

  • 2019: +2.2%

  • 2020: -3.7%

Related Link: Historically, Stocks Perform Better When Sitting President Is Reelected

How Trump Compares: Overall, U.S. GDP growth has averaged about 0.95% during Trump’s first term in office. Here’s a look at how that GDP growth stacks up to his predecessor, President Barack Obama:

  • 2009: -2.5%

  • 2010: +2.6%

  • 2011: +1.6%

  • 2012: +2.2%

  • 2013: +1.8%

  • 2014: +2.5%

  • 2015: +3.1%

  • 2016: +1.7%

In his eight years in office, U.S. GDP growth averaged 1.62% under Obama, about 70% higher than Trump’s growth rate.

Here’s a look at average GDP growth rates under the last six U.S. presidents:

  • Jimmy Carter (D): 3.25%

  • Ronald Reagan (R): 3.48%

  • George H.W. Bush (R): 2.25%

  • Bill Clinton (D): 3.88%

  • George W. Bush (R): 2.2%

  • Barack Obama (D): 1.62%

  • Donald Trump (R): 0.95%

In his first four years in office, Trump has had by far the lowest average U.S. GDP growth rate of any of the last seven U.S. presidents.

Overall, U.S. GDP growth was highest under Clinton and Reagan in this group. GDP growth was lowest under Trump and Obama.

Benzinga’s Take: The stock market is a leading economic indicator, and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is up 19.8% in the last six months.

That positive price action suggests GDP growth is on track for a rebound in 2021, but the question for Americans is whether rebound will occur with Trump or President Joe Biden.

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