Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act Kicked Off Over 10 Years Of Economic Growth

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US President Barack Obama. (Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

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Exactly 11 years ago today, February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or the Recovery Act into law. The $831 billion in spending kicked off the longest period of economic growth and job creation in American history.

Over a decade of economic growth

The National Bureau of Economic Research or NBER determines the length of economic expansions and recessions. The recent growth period started in July 2009 and has lasted for 127 months through January 2020. This surpasses the previous record of 120 months from December 2001 to November 2007, which then led into the Great Recession that Obama inherited.

President Obama's Recovery Act signature

President Obama’s Recovery Act signature

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Starting with the September 2009 quarter GDP growth has been positive every year since then. It ranged from 1.6% to 2.9% per year under Obama and from 2.3% to 2.9% under Trump.

The recent negative revisions to 2018’s job growth numbers could lead to a lower reading on Trump’s 2.9% GDP growth in 2018. The revised numbers should be out in July this year when the first estimate for June’s GDP growth is released.

Each of the last three years of Obama’s economy were stronger than Trump’s 2019 when adjusted for trade, inventory impacts and government spending. To get an overall view of Trump’s economy this article has 10 economic metrics of his three years in office.

GDP growth rate: 2008 to 2019

GDP growth rate: 2008 to 2019

Nick DeSantis

Trump’s job growth is a continuation of Obama’s economy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has data on the number of non-farm jobs in the economy going back to 1939. There have been two periods with 9 years of consecutive job growth; 1961 to 1969 and 1992 to 2000. As of December last year that record was broken with 10 years of consecutive job growth from 2010 to 2019.

U.S President Donald Trump

U.S President Donald Trump.

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It is harder for companies to find workers and it is later in the business cycle. However, Trump’s boasts about how many jobs he has added don’t include the fact that he has generated 6.5 million jobs under his Presidency vs. the 8.1 million, or 1.6 million fewer than Obama did during his last three years in office. In fact, Trump’s best year of job growth (2018) doesn’t even beat any of Obama’s last three years.

Number of jobs added: 2008 to 2019

Number of jobs added: 2008 to 2019

Nick DeSantis

The graph below displays the number of employees in the private sector of the economy, meaning it excludes government workers and farmers, over the past 15 years. It shows the 10 years of increased employment, seven under Obama and three under Trump. It turns out that in 2019 there were 1.927 million private sector jobs added, the fewest since 2010 as the economy was recovering from the Great Recession.

Total private sector employment; 2005 to 2019

Total private sector employment; 2005 to 2019

GRAPH COURTESY OF JOEL D. SHORE, BASED ON EMPLOYMENT DATA FROM THE U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS Continue reading at Forbes