The Best And Worst US Presidents For GDP Growth

Lakehead (Ontario) University economics professor Livio Di Matteo is up with a neat post on the Worthwhile Canadian Initiative blog ranking American presidents by GDP during their tenure.

Here’s the top- and bottom-10:


Photo: Livio Di Matteo/Lakehead University

And here’s the full list:


Photo: Livio Di Matteo/Lakehead University

The median for all commanders-in-chief was 1.4 per cent, with a high of 9.9 per cent and a low of -5.5 per cent.

There are definitely some quirks on the list too: the man at the top James Garfield was “a one-year wonder,” as Di Matteo puts it, having only served in 1881 before getting assassinated.  

And the next highest, FDR “had the good fortune of not holding office during the depth of the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933 as well as robust war-time growth,” Di Matteo writes. 

As for President Obama? He had the misfortune of serving “in what many regard as the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”

How to make it to the top 10?

“It often helps to serve during a major war,” says Di Matteo. “You should avoid holding office immediately after a major war and definitely make sure you avoid holding office during economic depressions.” 

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