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AP FACT CHECK: Trump on the economy

February 6, 2019
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FILE - This Dec. 24, 2018, file photo shows the Federal Reserve building during a partial government shutdown in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at one of President Donald Trump’s statements from his State of the Union address on Tuesday night and how it compares with the facts:

TRUMP: “In just over two years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before. There’s been nothing like it. ... An economic miracle is taking place in the United States.”

THE FACTS: The president is vastly exaggerating what has been a mild improvement in growth and hiring. The economy is healthy but not nearly one of the best in U.S. history.

The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.8 percent last spring and summer, a solid pace. But it was just the fastest in four years. In the late 1990s, growth topped 4 percent for four straight years, a level it has not yet reached under Trump. And growth even reached 7.2 percent in 1984.

Almost all independent economists expect slower growth this year as the effect of the Trump administration’s tax cuts fade, trade tensions and slower global growth hold back exports, and higher interest rates make it more expensive to borrow to buy cars and homes.

TRUMP: “The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office.”

THE FACTS: Perhaps, but that largely reflects economic volatility. Growth was slow in 2016, at 1.6 percent, but just a year earlier, in 2015, it was 2.9 percent. The economy may have expanded at a roughly 3 percent pace last year, which is healthy, but not much faster than just three years before. We don’t know the exact figure for 2018 because the 35-day partial government shutdown has delayed the release of fourth-quarter data.

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