- A flurry of populist economic promises helped propel President Donald Trump to the White House in 2016.
- Nearly three years later, the record-long expansion has cooled but held up better than expected.
- Here’s how some of his top pledges on the economy held up in 2019.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A flurry of populist economic promises helped propel President Donald Trump to the White House in 2016.
Nearly three years later, the record-long expansion has cooled but held up better than expected. Business Insider investigated how some of his top pledges on the economy held up in 2019.
Gross domestic product
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
The White House Council of Economic Advisers predicted that growth would top 3% for every year that Trump was in office. While growth has held up better than predicted, particularly after tax cut effects faded and trade tensions rose, that hasn’t happened so far.
In the first three quarters of 2019, gross domestic product held up better than economists had predicted. The results of the last three months aren’t out yet, but economists are all but certain that annual growth will be far closer to 2%.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Trump famously vowed as a candidate to pay off the national debt within eight years. But red ink has continued to flow at a record pace under the Trump administration.
In the 2019 fiscal year, the national deficit swelled to its highest level in seven years at $984 billion. The last time it was that high, Washington was dealing with the aftermath of the Great Recession.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Trump has long promised to overhaul the global trade system in an attempt to benefit American workers he said have been put at a disadvantage by globalization. In 2019, he escalated tariff fights with China and several US allies.
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Near the end of the year, Trump declared victory from those efforts as China announced it would commit to increased agricultural purchases, tighter protections for intellectual property, and other economic changes as part of an agreement to defuse tensions.
Separately, the White House gained support from Democrats for its signature rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The pact marked a major legislative accomplishment for Trump, who called NAFTA the “worst” trade deal in history. The revised pact includes stricter rules on manufacturing origins and labor rules, but is expected to have a modest or slightly negative impact on the economy.
The US labor market has continued to hum under Trump. Throughout his presidency, the rate of job creation has largely kept in line with population growth.
In 2019, the unemployment rate held near a half-century low for much of the year. It consistently registered at or below 4%.
Jeff Swensen / Stringer
Trump won over Rust Belt states on the back of promises to revive the manufacturing sector.
American factory activity picked up in the first year of his administration. But activity has fallen sharply over the past two years as tariffs levied by the president exacerbate a broader slowdown in factory activity. In 2019, the sector fell into a mild recession.
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