When Bill Clinton was President, the economy was big news. And rightly so; the 90s, like the 80s, were a time of robust economic growth here in the U.S. What’s odd is that positive news coverage of the economy, which ended with the stock market decline that began in 2000 and the recession that began early in 2001, has never really resumed. The story of the American economy’s superb performance since roughly 2002 remains largely untold or, at least, unappreciated.
The administration has tried to get the word out, of course; today it posted this excellent State of the Economy Overview. The report is replete with statistics and charts; here are a few that I found interesting.
Job creation: the economy has created more than 7 million payroll jobs since August 2003 (the self-employed, a growing segment of the economy, are not included). Click to enlarge:
In some respects, the current expansion is more impressive than that of the 1990s. Wage growth has been stronger. This is demonstrated in several ways; this chart shows real after-tax income per person:
I think most people know that over the past year, the U.S. has had the best combination of economic growth and low unemployment of any major industrialized country; this graph shows it well:
This one is interesting, too. While federal tax receipts are at a record high, they are not, as a percentage of GDP. On the contrary, the negative trend that was well underway during the Clinton years has been reversed:
Check out the whole analysis; there is much more. When the history of the Bush administration is written, its unsurpassed stewardship of our economy during what started out as very difficult times (recession and 9/11) will, I hope, get the credit it deserves.
UPDATE: The Dow reached an all-time high today.
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