Mr. [Phil] Neal [“A false summary of the Trump economy,” Aug. 1] seems to have a problem with the facts about the U.S. economy. His assessment of the material in my commentary of July 25 is considerably off-base. The data I used for my commentary is accurate and well-documented, contrary to what Mr. Neal seems to imply. My data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Office of Economic Development, Trading Economics and Statista. Here are the numbers that fully support my statements, which indicate that the Trump economy is strong and that the GDP is growing.
The labor force participation rate (LFPR) times the employment rate times the average hours worked by workers times wages per hour equals wages per person. Wages per person is up under Trump because: (1) The LFPR in 2016 (Obama’s last year) averaged 62.77 percent (January through June in 2016). In 2019, under Trump, LFPR was 62.98 percent for the same months. Trump hasn’t been in office long enough to use the other months of this year, and we are looking at Trump now, not his first two years, which was insufficient time for his policies to start working. (2) The employment rate in 2016 (under Obama) averaged 95.1 percent (January through July), whereas under Trump for the same period in 2019 the employment rate averaged 96.26 percent. (3) The average hours worked per year (2016 for Obama) was 1,781. Under Trump in 2018 (don’t have all the data for 2019 yet), it was 1,786. Average hourly wages for 2016 were $21.70. In 2019 so far, they have averaged $23.50. If you appropriately do the multiplying here, you will find the wages per person are higher under Trump because each of the ratios that determine wages per person is higher under Trump than under Obama.
In 2016, the productivity (output per labor hour) index was 102 for the year. Under Trump it is 107 for 2019 so far. If you again do the appropriate multiplying as discussed above, except you replace wages per period with output per hour, you find that output per person is higher under Trump than under Obama. With greater wages per hour per person and greater output per hour per person you get greater GDP per person because you have greater demand (from wages) and greater supply (output) from companies.
If you look at GDP per capita directly (Trading Economics), you find from Obama’s years, end of 2014 through 2016, that GDP per capita grew on average $759.65 per year per person. Under Trump, end of 2016 through 2018, GDP per person grew $1,003.65 per year per person.
Mr. Neal, the above is fact — the truth according to the reliable data sources I used. I do not usually put the raw data and numbers in a commentary article because generally people do not want to read such stuff and it takes up too much space in the newspaper. Nearly all my articles are data-based. Before you label my work “false” you should at least ask me what data I used and why. For the commentary to which you refer, I generally used the last data available (2016) on Obama’s economy and 2019 data (the latest) on Trump’s economy.