Donald Trump achievements: Economic policy and labor

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to economic and labor policy.

2017

Legislation signed, 2017

  • March 27, 2017—One of the four Congressional Review bills which Trump signed into law that day repealed Obama's Blacklisting Rule, which would have required firms contracted by federal agencies to disclose every claim of unfair labor practices concerning them – something which would have given unionized contractors an upper-hand. On the same day, President Trump signed an executive order repealing the contracting rule.[1]
  • November 1, 2017—President Trump signed a Congressional Review bill into law repealing a regulation enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau banning mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts regarding financial services which would allow consumers to join class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies.[2]
  • December 22, 2017—President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut bill into law.[3] Despite keeping the number of individual income tax brackets at seven, the bill lowered their rates.[4] It also reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, changed how multinational U.S. companies are taxed, and repealed the ObamaCare individual mandate, among other changes.[4] Because of the tax bill, hundreds of companies announced major bonuses for their employees,[5] and over 100 utilities reduced their rates because of the tax cuts.[6] Most American companies increased their investments due to the tax cuts,[7] and a 2018 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that companies significantly increased their contributions to defined-benefit pension plans in 2017 because of the cuts.[8] The tax cuts helped achieve other positive economic developments.[9]

Executive actions, 2017

  • February 3, 2017—President Trump signed an order directing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, upon his confirmation, to plan changes to the Dodd-Frank bank regulatory law in order to cut much of it.[10]
  • March 27, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order repealing Obama-era labor law compliance requirements[1] for federal contractors, along with signing a resolution of disapproval that day on the same topic.[11]
  • April 21, 2017—President Trump signed one executive order and two memorandums. The order directed the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to look at the U.S. tax code and recommend the removal of unnecessary regulations and the two memorandums directing the Treasury Secretary to conduct a review of portions of the Dodd-Frank law.[12]
  • June 15, 2017—President Trump signed executive orders to loosen federal regulations on job-training programs and to encourage apprenticeships and vocational learning.[13]
  • June 16, 2017—The Justice Department under Jeff Sessions officially changed its position on the Supreme Court case NLRB v. Murphy Oil – it is not common for the Justice Department to change its position in court cases.[14]
  • July 28, 2017—The Treasury Department announced it would end an Obama Administration program started in 2015, which was intended to help Americans without 401k plans save for retirement, because it was not cost-effective.[15]
  • September 29, 2017—President Trump disbanded the federal labor-management council, which was created by President Obama, due to it being a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.[16]

Other achievements, 2017

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

Improving economy, growing optimism

The U.S. economy rebounded during President Trump's first year in office.[17] As an illustration of that economic growth in 2017, the Spectrem Group estimated that it caused the country to gain 700,000 new millionaires that year.[18]

  • By the summer of 2017, the economy was clearly improving and growing.[19] The economy rose faster than expected in June 2017, with 222,000 jobs being added,[20] and jobless claims applications and benefits fell.[21] The economy grew faster than expected in July 2017,[22] and it was reported that month that economic growth had increased to 2.6%.[23] The number of job openings greatly increased.[24] The rate of economic growth for the second quarter of 2017 was 3.1%, above the 3% level that Trump pledged to achieve for a sustained period.[25] The U.S. economy again reached 3% economic growth for Q3.[26] By the end of 2017, the U.S. was on track to reach its strongest level of growth since 2005.[27]
  • The unemployment rate decreased, falling to its lowest point in 16 years by the summer of 2017.[28] Also in mid-2017, the black American unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in 17 years,[29][30] and the gap between black and white unemployment fell to the lowest recorded level ever.[31] In December 2017, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest level ever recorded.[32] The Latino unemployment rate reached its lowest recorded level ever.[30][33] In October 2017, the number of jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 1973 – 44 years,[34] and the number of Americans on unemployment benefits also saw a 44-year low in December 2017.[35]
  • One million new jobs were created in President Trump's first six months in office.[36] Also, 2017 saw the lowest number of job cuts since 1990.[37]
  • The average credit scores of Americans reached an all-time high by July 2017.[38]
  • Food stamp levels fell after Trump took office.[39][40] By August 2017, the number of people on food stamps had fallen by 1.1 million people since the beginning of Trump's presidency,[41] and it was reported in September 2017 that the number of people using food stamps had declined each month of Trump's presidency to that point.[42] By the end of Fiscal Year 2017, the number of people on food stamps had dropped by over 2 million,[43] and the number fell to 2.2 million fewer in Trump's first full year in office.[44] In FY 2017, the federal government spent the lowest amount of money on the food stamp program in seven years.[45] Between October and November 2017, four million people stopped using food stamps,[46] and in December 2017, it dropped by over 500,000.[47] According to the USDA, in 2017, participation in the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) food stamp and welfare program reached its lowest level in 17 years.[48] In 2017, the number of people applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration fell below 1.5 million – the lowest level since 2002, and something attributed to the strong economy.[49] The drop was so large that the SSA had to revise its estimates of how much longer the program would remain financially stable.[49]
  • It was reported in early July that U.S. factory activity rose to its highest level since August 2014.[50] It was reported in September 2017 that U.S. manufacturing reached its highest pace of expansion in six years.[51] According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in October 2017, U.S. factory activity reached its highest level since 2004.[52] Also according to the ISM, in the last three months of 2017, U.S. manufacturing expanded at the fastest rate since 2004.[53]
  • In addition to the improving economy, Americans' confidence and optimism increased.[54] By June 2017, Americans' confidence in the economy had risen,[55] and by August it had reached a 16-year high[56] and had doubled since Trump took office.[57] According to the Consumer Confidence Index in October 2017, consumer confidence surged to a 17-year-high.[58] According to CNBC’s All-American Economic Survey in December 2017, more than half of all people rated the economy as "good" or "excellent," the first time in the survey's 11-year history.[59] It was reported in August 2017 that the optimism of small business owners was at a ten-year high,[60] and overall, 2017 was a very strong year for small business owner optimism.[61] It was reported in late September 2017 that the optimism of manufacturers was the highest it had been in 20 years.[62] In December 2017, homebuilder confidence reached its highest level since July 1999, according to the National Association of Home Builders.[63] Consumer spending rose in September 2017.[64] According to Pew Research Center, public confidence in job growth in October 2017 reached the highest point ever since Pew started keeping track in 2001.[65] According to Gallup in December 2017, Americans were twice as confident in finding a new job compared to five years previously.[66] By the end of 2017, business owners' confidence in the Trump Administration's economic agenda had caused them to begin increasing their investment in the U.S. economy.[67]
  • It was reported in August 2017 that because of the weakening dollar, American corporations had their best earning season in 13 years, with three-quarters of S&P 500 corporations reporting actual earnings above prior estimates and with every sector having at least half its companies meeting or exceeding earnings forecasts.[68]
  • According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. household wealth rose by $1.7 trillion to a record high in the second quarter of 2017.[69]
  • Home sales unexpectedly surged, reaching their highest level in 10 years by November 2017.[70]
  • On July 26, 2017, the large manufacturing company Foxconn announced it would build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin which would bring about 3,000 jobs to the area.[71] President Trump attended the groundbreaking for the new factory on June 28, 2018.[72]

Trump and the stock market, 2016–2017

Despite expectations that Trump's election victory would cause the markets to plunge,[73] the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually performed very strongly, closing at the highest level it had ever reached in history after the second day.[74] It is rare for the stock market to rise immediately after a U.S. presidential election regardless of the winner.[74] The stock market had its best week in five years due to the optimism of a Trump presidency.[75]

Trump was very busy in his first week and showed he was serious about his campaign promises. This caused the stock market to increase, and the Dow Jones passed 20,000 points for the first time in its history.[76][77] It had been only 42 days since the Dow Jones passed 19,000 points, making it the second-fastest 1,000 point move of the Dow in its history.[78] On March 1, 2017, the day after Trump made his first address to a joint-session of Congress, the stock market rose dramatically again, with the Dow Jones passing the 21,000 mark for the first time in history.[79][80][81] The stock market had one of the best performances in the first 100 days of Trump's presidency compared to the first 100 days of previous presidents in U.S. history.[82] The stock market continued to perform well after President Trump's first 100 days.[83] President Trump played a large role in causing this rise.[84]

On June 1, 2017, the same day President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the day after,[85] the stock market rose strongly, mainly due to news of increased economic growth.[86] On August 2, 2017, the Dow Jones closed above 22,000 for the first time in its history, after six days of consecutive record highs.[87] By early October 2017, the Dow Jones industrial average closed 62 times at record-highs and had risen nearly 25% since the 2016 presidential election.[88] The Dow Jones passed the 23,000 mark for the first time on October 17, 2017 and closed for the first time above 23,000 the next day, the fifth 1,000-point milestone since Trump's election in November 2016.[89] Between Trump inauguration and mid-January 2018, the Dow Jones rose by 31%, the largest rise in the first year of a U.S. presidency since Franklin D. Roosevelt's first year in office,[90] and the S&P 500 rose 23%, the highest ever for a Republican president's first year in office.[91]

Of course, the stock market did not see only growth during the Trump Administration in 2017; on May 17, 2017, for example, the Dow Jones fell 372 points (1.78%) due to the fallout from the James Comey controversy.[92] The stock market also fell after President Trump spoke harshly against North Korea.[93]

2018

By May 2018, the Trump Administration had taken numerous steps to reduce banking regulations, both through legislation and through executive actions.[94]

Legislation signed, 2018

  • May 24, 2018—President Trump signed a bill into law repealing some financial regulations put into place under the Dodd–Frank law, including reducing the amount of regulation and oversight for banks having under $250 billion in assets.[95] The Act was described as the largest change to U.S. banking regulations since the Dodd–Frank law.[96]

Executive actions, 2018

  • February 15, 2018—The Securities and Exchange Commission blocked a Chinese attempt to buy the Chicago Stock Exchange.[97]
  • May 25, 2018—President Trump signed three executive orders reforming federal workforce rules, such as making it easier to fire federal employees for misconduct, weakening the power of federal labor unions, and making the workforce more efficient and less costly.[98] Among these changes, federal workers were required to use at least 75% of their work time to actually do the jobs they were hired to do rather than doing union-related work.[98] That same day, Trump signed another executive order exempting tour operators from an Obama-era regulation that required a certain minimum wage for those working for companies contracting with the federal government.[99] On July 5, 2018, the White House's Office of Personnel Management moved to implement the orders.[100]
  • July 11, 2018—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began the process of ending a 2014 Obama Administration regulation that allowed unions to collect dues direct from Medicaid payments to American workers despite a law prohibiting this practice in most cases.[101]
  • July 17, 2018—The Labor Department rescinded an Obama-era regulation – called the "Persuader Rule" – requiring employers to publically reveal the consultants they hire to help them persuade workers to reject unionization.[102]

Other achievements, 2018

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • The media noted that Trump's presidency had caused the Republican and Democrat parties to focus on the working class as an important voting group.[103]

Continued economic growth

The U.S. economy continued growing, beating expectations,[104] and it performed better than the economies of many European and Asian countries.[105] Even many Democrats recognized that the economy was performing well under President Trump.[106]

  • The stock market continued its record-breaking rise.[107] On January 4, 2018, the DOW Jones passed 25,000 points for the first time, after what was the fastest 1,000-point gain in the DOW's history.[108] The three-day government shutdown in late January 2018 did not stop the market's rise.[109] Later in the year, the solid growth phase ended, and the stock market became more volatile and even fell sharply some days.[110]
  • In addition to the stock market, the economy continued going well,[111] and economists credited President Trump for it.[112] U.S. manufacturing continued its expansion at a robust pace in January 2018,[113] and in February 2018 it expanded at its fastest pace since May 2004.[114] It was reported in March 2018 that in the previous 12 months, more manufacturing jobs had been created since 1998,[115] and by the end of June, 362,000 manufacturing jobs had been created since the beginning of Trump's presidency, meaning that the number of employed manufacturing workers reached a ten-year high.[116] Additionally, job security increased for factory workers compared to previous periods of economic growth.[117] The number of homebuilding permits in the U.S. rose in January 2018 to the highest level since 2007,[118] and in May 2018, homebuilding almost reached an 11-year high.[119] Because of high shipping demand in the strong economy, truck factories saw very high backlogs.[120] Manufacturing had a very strong month in June 2018.[121]
  • 2018 saw strong wage growth. In January 2018, wages grew at the fastest pace since 2009.[122] In April 2018, the Department of Labor reported that wages were rising at the fastest rate since 2008.[123] According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis in June 2018, wages for manufacturing workers and miners rose by double-digits in the First Quarter of 2018, among other positive news – and prior to Trump's presidency, wages for miners had been shrinking for nine consecutive months.[124] According to the Commerce Department, wages continued to rise in may even as spending on utilities fell.[125] The recruitment and wage-tracking company Glassdoor reported in July 2018 that blue-collar and working-class jobs had seen strong wage growth, even as college-graduate jobs saw wages stagnate.[126] Even wages for interns rose due to the tightening job market.[127] Despite all this, some government data in 2018 indicated that inflation was rising faster than wage growth.[128]
  • In January 2018, the Department of Labor reported that the number of jobless claims was far lower than expected and at a 45-year-low.[129] In February 2018, the number of jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since 1969 – 49 years[130] – and the same happened in April 2018.[131] The number of jobless claims remained at record low levels,[132] and it performed better than expected, as illustrated with several reports in June 2018.[133] It was reported in April 2018 that jobless claims stayed below 300,000 for the longest period on record, since records began in 1967.[134] In addition to this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in April 2018 that in the past year, 14 states recorded record-low unemployment levels, including eight in the previous month alone.[135] In April 2018, the unemployment fell to 3.9%, the lowest level since 2000.[136] As a sign of how strong the economy was performing and of how well the U.S. had recovered from the 2008 recession, the Labor Department reported that the number of job openings in March 2018 had reached a record high since the data started being recorded and was equal to the number of unemployed workers.[137] The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in April 2018, the number of job openings again hit a record high, now exceeding the number of unemployed Americans looking for jobs.[138] According to a Rasmussen Reports rating released in May 2018, the number of Americans who knew an unemployed person fell by nearly half since 2011.[139] On June 1, 2018, the Labor Department released an especially positive report on U.S. economic growth, with significantly more jobs created in May than expected and the unemployment rate reaching an 18-year low.[140] The country saw greater job growth than expected in June 2018,[141] and while the unemployment increased slightly, analysts actually saw this as a good sign for the economy.[142] In July 2018, the number of jobless claims again fell to the lowest level since 1969.[143]
  • Unemployment rates for minorities continued reaching record lows.[144] In May 2018, the black unemployment rate also hit a record low,[145] and in June 2018, the Hispanic unemployment rate also reached a record low.[146] Asian unemployment also fell to the lowest level ever recorded in May 2018.[144][147]
  • The difference between job growth for foreign-born workers versus American-born workers narrowed in May and June 2018, to the advantage of the American-born workers.[148]
  • Confidence continued to rise. According to a Job Creators Network survey in January 2018, 64% of small business owners believed President Trump's policies had helped their businesses.[149] According to the National Federal of Independent Business in February 2018, a record number of small business owners believed that it was now a good time to expand.[150] Also, in February, consumer confidence rose significantly.[151] The National Federation of Business reported in March 2018 that American small business owners were more optimistic about the economy than any other point in the previous 35 years.[152] According to the University of Michigan in March 2018, consumer confidence reached its highest point since 2004.[153] Consumer confidence remained strong by May 2018.[154] According to the NFIB in May 2018, small business optimism remained at record levels and they were experiencing a record growth in profits,[155] and later that month it reported that a record proportion of small businesses were raising wages for their workers.[156] According to Gallup in May 2018, 67% of Americans – a record number – believed that it was currently a good time to find good jobs.[157] According to the NFIB in June 2018, small business optimism the previous month rose to its highest level in 34 years and second highest level in 45 years.[158] In May 2018, retail sales grew far faster than expected, a sign of consumer confidence,[159] and the University of Michigan also reported increased confidence in June 2018.[160] According to a National Association of Manufacturers survey in June 2018, 95.1% of manufacturers had a "positive outlook for their companies," the highest number in the survey's 20-year existence.[161] According to CNBC's All-American Economic Survey, 51% of Americans approved of President Trump's handling of the economy, and 54% believed the economy was doing excellent or good, the highest-recorded number in the survey's ten-year history.[162] According to the Small Business Optimism Index, small business confidence remained at very high levels in June 2018.[163]
  • In 2018, the number of Americans voluntarily quitting their jobs rose to a 17-year high, indicating strong economic conditions and high confidence in the job market.[164]
  • Partially due to the high levels of economic growth in the U.S. – though also attributed to the Trump Administration's efforts to crack down on fraud – enrollment on food stamps fell to its lowest level in eight years.[165]
  • By June 2018, the Iron Range of Minnesota was experiencing a strong and rapid economic turnaround after years of poor economic conditions.[166] In the South, the Commerce Department reported that home sales in the region in May 2018 rose 17.9%, the highest level since July 2007.[167] The media also pointed out Iowa's strong economic performance.[168]

Failures, 2018

  • By mid-2018, the Trump Administration had shifted to full support of the Export-Import Bank of Washington, despite its numerous problems.[169] This came after President Trump made statements supporting the bank in 2017 despite opposing it during his 2016 presidential campaign,[170] and after the U.S. Senate rejected the administration's nomination of Scott Garrett, a critic of the bank, to lead it.[171]

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  133. Multiple references: For June 22, 2018:
  134. Multiple references:
  135. Multiple references:
  136. Multiple references: See also:
  137. Multiple references:
  138. Multiple references:
  139. Bedard, Paul (May 11, 2018). Jobless rating at 8-year low, huge confidence in jobs market. Washington Examiner. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  140. Multiple references:
  141. Multiple references: See also:
  142. Multiple references: Jobless claims fell again shortly afterward:
  143. Multiple references:
  144. 144.0 144.1 Multiple references: See also:
  145. Multiple references:
  146. Multiple references: The same report also showed low black unemployment numbers:
  147. Record-low jobless rates for black Americans and Asians. Chicago Tribune (from the Associated Press). June 5, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  148. Binder, John (July 17, 2018). Job Growth for Foreign-Born Workforce Falls, Native-Born Americans Gain. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  149. Meyer, Ali (January 25, 2018). Survey: 64% of Small Business Owners Believe Trump’s Policies Have Helped Their Business. The Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  150. Multiple references:
  151. Multiple references:
  152. Carney, John (March 13, 2018). Small Business Optimism Jumps to Highest Since 1983. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  153. Multiple references:
  154. Multiple references:
  155. Multiple references: Freeman, James (May 3, 2018). Small Business Still Soaring. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  156. Multiple references:
  157. Multiple references:
  158. Multiple references:
  159. Multiple references: See also:
  160. Multiple references: The University of Michigan's data for early July 2018:
  161. Multiple references:
  162. Multiple references:
  163. Carney, John (June 10, 2018). Small Business Optimism Beats Expectations, Near All-Time High in June. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
    See also:
  164. Multiple references:
  165. O'Reilly, Andrew (June 18, 2018). Food stamp enrollment falls to 8-year low as Trump clamps down on fraud, economy improves. Fox News. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
    See also:
  166. Multiple references: See also:
  167. Multiple references:
  168. Multiple references:
  169. Multiple references:
  170. Multiple references:
  171. Multiple references: See also: