Feb 6, 2017

Donald Trump's economic head start

The success of a presidency can depend just as much on luck as skill. The economy, which is subject to powerful forces other than just public policy, is especially an area where a president can be aided by good fortune.

On most measures of economic health, President Trump's inheritance is generally richer than his predecessors' — save for one: per capita GDP growth. This is partly the result of a serious slowdown in corporate investment and labor productivity growth, two problems he hopes his tax and regulatory reforms will solve.

But today jobs are being created, the unemployment rate is low, and wage-growth is accelerating. These trends have put consumers in a good mood, and primed the wider economy for faster growth.

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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, University of Michigan; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

But this is just the starting line: Presidents aren't remembered for where the economy was when they were inaugurated. It's the end of the term that matters. So Trump could be blessed with good fortune now, only to be blamed if economic fortunes turn.

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