As Trump
takes office
one year in
Unemployment The jobless rate continued to fall in 2017, from 4.8 percent in January 2017 to 4.1 percent in December. With that decline, economists are increasingly wondering whether the economy is at full employment, which would mean that virtually everyone who can work and wants a job has one. (Sources: 12) 4.8 percent (January 2017) 4.1 percent (December 2017)
GDP Annual GDP growth of just over 2 percent isn’t exactly gangbusters, but it’s faster than it was a year ago. In the coming year, the White House and economists will be watching to see how much the new tax overhaul affects this figure. (The value shown is the percent change in GDP from the same period one year ago. | Sources: 12) 1.8 percent (Q4 2016) 2.3 percent (Q3 2017)
Wage growth Wage growth is about where it was a year ago, which is to say that wages are growing at only a modest pace compared with where they were prior to either of the last two recessions. (Sources: 12) 2.6 percent (January 2017) 2.5 percent (December 2017)
Inflation (CPI) No one likes paying higher prices at the store, but inflation growth can also be a sign of a strengthening economy. And while by this measure, inflation is slightly lower than it was a year ago, it has altogether picked up in the past two years. Currently, inflation is expected to grow even more quickly in 2018, which could lead the Fed to tighten monetary policy to keep it in check. (Sources: 12) 2.5 percent (January 2017) 2.1 percent (December 2017)
S&P 500 As President Trump often notes, the stock market really has performed well since he took office. The S&P 500 is up by more than 23 percent since Inauguration Day 2017. Yet it’s difficult to tie that performance directly to Trump’s policies. (Sources: 12) 2,271.31 (Jan. 20, 2017) 2,810.30 (Jan. 19, 2018)
Student loan debt According to the latest data, the amount of student debt hit nearly $1.4 trillion in the third quarter of 2017, a total that has been inching up for years. Today, student debt makes up more than 10 percent of consumer debt, up from 4 percent a decade ago. (By far, the largest share of consumer debt is mortgage debt, at 67 percent.) (Sources: 12) $1.3 trillion (Q4 2016) $1.4 trillion (Q3 2017)
Federal debt The ratio of U.S. debt to GDP has fallen off a tiny bit since the start of 2017, but on the whole, it has been climbing slowly in the past few years. (Sources: 12) 104.1 percent of GDP (Q1 2017) 103.8 percent of GDP (Q3 2017)
Labor force participation rate The labor force participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points this year but has held relatively steady for the past couple of years. This level, right below 63 percent, is relatively low — it has fallen off from a level of around 67 percent in the early 2000s. While a low rate can signal a weak job market, this decline is also caused by shifting demographics. As baby boomers age and retire, there are going to be more and more adults not participating in the labor market. (Sources: 12) 62.9 percent (January 2017) 62.7 percent (December 2017)