'Let's just remember when this recovery started': Obama hits back at Trump taking credit for strong economy

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesPresidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama
  • Former President Barack Obama chided Republicans for taking credit for job growth numbers that look similar to the figures during his presidency.
  • “So when you hear how the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said.
  • According to data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, job growth during President Donald Trump’s first year in office was lower than any of the previous three years under Obama.

President Barack Obama thinks Republicans may be taking a bit too much credit for the strength of the US economy.

During a speech at the University of Illinois, Obama chided Republicans taking credit for the current strength of the economy when they previously derided similar figures when he was in office.

“So when you hear how the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said. “I’m glad it’s continued, but when you hear about this ‘economic miracle’ that’s been going on when the job numbers come out – monthly job numbers – suddenly Republicans are saying it’s a miracle. I have to kind of remind them those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016.”

Since President Donald Trump took office, the administration and many congressional Republicans have argued that the economy’s growth has stemmed from deregulatory policies and tax cuts enacted by the party. Republicans have cheered economic data almost identical to the numbers under Obama.

On the other hand, many Democrats and economists contend that the economic growth and strengthening labour market are a continuation of the strong and steady rebound since the end of the recession.

Here’s the breakdown, per the Bureau of Labour Statistics:

  • 2014 (Obama): 258,250 jobs added monthly on average; 3,099,000 annual total
  • 2015 (Obama): 221,417 jobs added monthly on average; 2,657,000 annual total
  • 2016 (Obama): 176,333 jobs added monthly on average; 2,116,000 annual total
  • 2017 (Trump): 170,500 jobs added monthly on average; 2,046,000 annual total
  • 2018 (Trump): on pace for 208,000 jobs added monthly on average; 2,496,000 annual total

The tax cuts and massive fiscal stimulus enacted under Trump are just beginning to filter into the broader economy, but so too are the effects from Trump’s intensifying trade battles.

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