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Obama and Trump face off over claims of strong economy

Posted at 11:35 AM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 13:35:55-05

President Donald Trump is lashing out after former President Barack Obama who marked the 11th anniversary on Monday of signing a nearly $800 billion stimulus package designed to reverse the effects of the Great Recession.

"Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history," Obama wrote on Twitter.

Hours later, Trump hit back, accusing his predecessor of a "con job" in "trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration."

"He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing," Trump wrote of Obama.

That argument was echoed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro in an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow on Tuesday.

"What President Trump realized is that we had a structural problem, primarily with offshoring our jobs and overregulation and high taxes relative to around the world. He fixed those structural problems. That set up the economic boom that we're having right now," Navarro said on "Newsroom."

But despite Trump's frequent claims that the US under his watch is enjoying its strongest economic run ever, a look at jobs created over the first three years of Trump's presidency against the last three years of Obama's time in office tells a different story.

The US economy has gained 6.6 million jobs during Trump's first 36 months in office. But in a comparable 36-month period at the end of Obama's tenure, employers added 8.1 million jobs.

During Obama's last 36 months in office, the average monthly gain was 224,000 jobs. Under Trump so far, employers have been adding an average of 182,000 jobs a month.

The gross domestic product figures haven't hit over 4% economic growth on a quarterly basis during Trump's time in office. Trump's 2018 yearly growth of 2.9% matched Obama's 2015 figure, but on both a quarterly and annual basis, the Trump economy has not yet exceeded the best quarters of the Obama years.

The US economy in 2019 grew at 2.3%, its slowest pace in three years, according to number released by the Commerce Department last month.