In this 28th month governed by a man of low character who disrespects the rule of law while lying, hiding conflicts of interest, promoting his private business, dividing the country and insulting a long list of the nation’s best values, we must acknowledge: For 27 months, the American job creation engine has performed well.
This solid economy is Donald Trump’s economy.
Trump, who as a private citizen cast cheap doubt on Labor Department numbers that told the story of an economy healing under Barack Obama, can now proudly point to an official unemployment rate of 3.6%, the lowest level since December 1969.
With joblessness so low, with trade policies so counterproductive, it is a real achievement that the economy continues to add new jobs: In April, businesses overall added 263,000 new positions.
Have we, under Trump’s tax and trade policies, suddenly entered a whole new economic world? Hardly. Wages for the average American are still growing too slowly. And looking at mid-April-to-mid-April job production totals, 2018-19’s healthy job-creation total is below those of 2014-15 and 2016-17, when Trump considered the economy in ruins.
Also notable is that Trump’s nostalgic promise to put people back to work building things has not borne fruit because, even as manufacturing thrives, automation means fewer domestic workers are required.
The economy’s biggest hole remains a lack of quality job opportunities for less educated would-be workers who have historically filled these roles, many of whom make up the 27% of employable people still on the sidelines of the labor market.
A major push to rebuild American infrastructure would help them, while fixing transit, energy, water and other systems in urgent need of repair.
Trump and Democrats must find a way forward.