When president Donald Trump took the oath of office in 2017, at least 145.6 million people in US were employed. After four years, the numbers have slumped to 142.6 million, making him the first president since Herbert Hoover to depart from office with fewer jobs in the country.
In what is being dubbed as the worst employment creation since the Great Depression, Mr Trump’s economic legacy has been hit by the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the final jobs report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the number of employed Americans is down 3 million from Trump’s inauguration.
The economy was expanding in the first three years of his tenure as the 45th president of the country. Even though the actual increase in the wages barely budged, the GDP continued to grow and employment increased while the unemployment rate dipped to a record 3.5 per cent in February last year — the lowest in 50 years — before being pummelled by the pandemic.
He built “the largest, most inclusive economy in American history with record-low unemployment and rising wages until a pandemic from China destroyed it,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere told the Washington Post.
“But the catastrophic job losses during Trump’s presidency were not sparked by his labour-market policies, at least at first,” said the paper. “They were caused by the arrival of a deadly novel coronavirus, and the slumping consumer demand and business closures that followed.”
However, Mr Trump consistently downplayed the impact of the coronavirus that has so far claimed 401,730 lives, as he insisted on keeping the pandemic-ravaged economy open. “The lack of leadership during the health crisis was not only deadly — with thousands of Americans dying every day — but also disastrous for the economy,” wrote ABC News.
But economists believe, that the US is doing slightly better than it should amid the high rate of Covid-19 infections even as they criticised the Trump administration for resisting behavioural changes such as wearing a mask in public, that would have had no economic cost but would have helped in containing the virus.
“Everybody knows that full recovery won’t come until the virus is under control. And our path to getting the virus under control right now is either people behaving in a different way or mass vaccination. And on both of those fronts, it’s pretty clear that the administration has failed to deliver,” University of Tennessee economist Marianne Wanamaker told the Washington Post.