Donald Trump achievements: Economic policy and labor (2017)

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements: Economic policy and labor

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to economic and labor policy in 2017.

Legislation signed, 2017

  • March 27, 2017—One of the four Congressional Review bills which Trump signed into law that day repealed Obama's Blacklisting Rule, which would have required firms contracted by federal agencies to disclose every claim of unfair labor practices concerning them – something which would have given unionized contractors an upper-hand. On the same day, President Trump signed an executive order repealing the contracting rule.[1]
  • November 1, 2017—President Trump signed a Congressional Review bill into law repealing a regulation enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau banning mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts regarding financial services which would allow consumers to join class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies.[2]
  • December 22, 2017—President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut bill into law.[3] Despite keeping the number of individual income tax brackets at seven, the bill lowered their rates.[4] It also reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, changed how multinational U.S. companies are taxed, and repealed the ObamaCare individual mandate, among other changes.[4] Because of the tax bill, hundreds of companies announced major bonuses for their employees,[5] and over 100 utilities reduced their rates because of the tax cuts.[6] Most American companies increased their investments due to the tax cuts,[7] and a 2018 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that companies significantly increased their contributions to defined-benefit pension plans in 2017 because of the cuts.[8] A study by Americans for Tax Reform in 2018 also found that companies expanded benefits for their employees and their families because of the tax cuts.[9] The tax cuts helped achieve other positive economic developments,[10] and they made the U.S. tax burden the fourth lowest of OECD members.[11] The bill also resulted in a significant decline in corporate tax avoidance.[12]

Executive actions, 2017

President Trump speaking in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in March 2017
  • February 3, 2017—President Trump signed an order directing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, upon his confirmation, to plan changes to the Dodd-Frank bank regulatory law in order to cut much of it.[13]
  • March 27, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order repealing Obama-era labor law compliance requirements[1] for federal contractors, along with signing a resolution of disapproval that day on the same topic.[14]
  • April 21, 2017—President Trump signed one executive order and two memorandums. The order directed the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to look at the U.S. tax code and recommend the removal of unnecessary regulations and the two memorandums directing the Treasury Secretary to conduct a review of portions of the Dodd-Frank law.[15]
  • June 15, 2017—President Trump signed executive orders to loosen federal regulations on job-training programs and to encourage apprenticeships and vocational learning.[16]
  • June 16, 2017—The Justice Department under Jeff Sessions officially changed its position on the Supreme Court case NLRB v. Murphy Oil – it is not common for the Justice Department to change its position in court cases.[17]
  • July 28, 2017—The Treasury Department announced it would end an Obama Administration program started in 2015, which was intended to help Americans without 401k plans save for retirement, because it was not cost-effective.[18]
  • September 29, 2017—President Trump disbanded the federal labor-management council, which was created by President Obama, due to it being a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.[19]

Other achievements, 2017

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

Improving economy, growing optimism

The U.S. economy rebounded during President Trump's first year in office under his MAGAnomics policies.[20] As an illustration of that economic growth in 2017, the Spectrem Group estimated that it caused the country to gain 700,000 new millionaires that year.[21]

  • By the summer of 2017, the economy was clearly improving and growing.[22] The economy rose faster than expected in June 2017, with 222,000 jobs being added,[23] and jobless claims applications and benefits fell.[24] The economy grew faster than expected in July 2017,[25] and it was reported that month that economic growth had increased to 2.6%.[26] The number of job openings greatly increased.[27] The rate of economic growth for the second quarter of 2017 was 3.1%, above the 3% level that Trump pledged to achieve for a sustained period.[28] The U.S. economy again reached 3% economic growth for Q3.[29] By the end of 2017, the U.S. was on track to reach its strongest level of growth since 2005.[30]
  • The unemployment rate decreased, falling to its lowest point in 16 years by the summer of 2017.[31] Also in mid-2017, the black American unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in 17 years,[32][33] and the gap between black and white unemployment fell to the lowest recorded level ever.[34] In December 2017, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest level ever recorded.[35] The Latino unemployment rate reached its lowest recorded level ever.[33][36] In October 2017, the number of jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 1973 – 44 years,[37] and the number of Americans on unemployment benefits also saw a 44-year low in December 2017.[38] In 2017, Hispanic poverty in the U.S. reached a record low according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[39]
  • One million new jobs were created in President Trump's first six months in office.[40] Also, 2017 saw the lowest number of job cuts since 1990.[41]
  • The average credit scores of Americans reached an all-time high by July 2017.[42]
  • Food stamp levels fell after Trump took office.[43][44] By August 2017, the number of people on food stamps had fallen by 1.1 million people since the beginning of Trump's presidency,[45] and it was reported in September 2017 that the number of people using food stamps had declined each month of Trump's presidency to that point.[46] By the end of Fiscal Year 2017, the number of people on food stamps had dropped by over 2 million,[47] and the number fell to 2.2 million fewer in Trump's first full year in office.[48] In FY 2017, the federal government spent the lowest amount of money on the food stamp program in seven years.[49] Between October and November 2017, four million people stopped using food stamps,[50] and in December 2017, it dropped by over 500,000.[51] According to the USDA, in 2017, participation in the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) food stamp and welfare program reached its lowest level in 17 years.[52] In 2017, the number of people applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration fell below 1.5 million – the lowest level since 2002, and something attributed to the strong economy.[53] The drop was so large that the SSA had to revise its estimates of how much longer the program would remain financially stable.[53]
  • It was reported in early July that U.S. factory activity rose to its highest level since August 2014.[54] It was reported in September 2017 that U.S. manufacturing reached its highest pace of expansion in six years.[55] According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in October 2017, U.S. factory activity reached its highest level since 2004.[56] Also according to the ISM, in the last three months of 2017, U.S. manufacturing expanded at the fastest rate since 2004.[57]
  • In addition to the improving economy, Americans' confidence and optimism increased.[58] By June 2017, Americans' confidence in the economy had risen,[59] and by August it had reached a 16-year high[60] and had doubled since Trump took office.[61] According to the Consumer Confidence Index in October 2017, consumer confidence surged to a 17-year-high.[62] According to CNBC's All-American Economic Survey in December 2017, more than half of all people rated the economy as "good" or "excellent," the first time in the survey's 11-year history.[63] It was reported in August 2017 that the optimism of small business owners was at a ten-year high,[64] and overall, 2017 was a very strong year for small business owner optimism.[65] A Wells Fargo/Gallup poll conducted in late July and early August 2017 found that investor confidence reached a 17-year high.[66] It was reported in late September 2017 that the optimism of manufacturers was the highest it had been in 20 years.[67] In December 2017, homebuilder confidence reached its highest level since July 1999, according to the National Association of Home Builders.[68] Consumer spending rose in September 2017.[69] According to Pew Research Center, public confidence in job growth in October 2017 reached the highest point ever since Pew started keeping track in 2001.[70] According to Gallup in December 2017, Americans were twice as confident in finding a new job compared to five years previously.[71] By the end of 2017, business owners' confidence in the Trump Administration's economic agenda had caused them to begin increasing their investment in the U.S. economy.[72]
  • It was reported in August 2017 that because of the weakening dollar, American corporations had their best earning season in 13 years, with three-quarters of S&P 500 corporations reporting actual earnings above prior estimates and with every sector having at least half its companies meeting or exceeding earnings forecasts.[73]
  • According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. household wealth rose by $1.7 trillion to a record high in the second quarter of 2017.[74] The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2017, U.S. median income reached a record high, adjusting for inflation, and the poverty rate fell to the lowest level since 2006.[75]
  • Home sales unexpectedly surged, reaching their highest level in 10 years by November 2017.[76]
  • On July 26, 2017, the large manufacturing company Foxconn announced it would build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin which would bring about 13,000 jobs to the area.[77] President Trump attended the groundbreaking for the new factory on June 28, 2018.[78]

Trump and the stock market, 2016–2017

Despite expectations that Trump's election victory would cause the markets to plunge,[79] the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually performed very strongly, closing at the highest level it had ever reached in history after the second day.[80] It is rare for the stock market to rise immediately after a U.S. presidential election regardless of the winner.[80] The stock market had its best week in five years due to the optimism of a Trump presidency.[81]

President Trump was very busy in his first week and showed he was serious about his campaign promises. This caused the stock market to increase, and the Dow Jones passed 20,000 points for the first time in its history.[82][83] It had been only 42 days since the Dow Jones passed 19,000 points, making it the second-fastest 1,000 point move of the Dow in its history.[84] On March 1, 2017, the day after Trump made his first address to a joint-session of Congress, the stock market rose dramatically again, with the Dow Jones passing the 21,000 mark for the first time in history.[85][86][87] The stock market had one of the best performances in the first 100 days of Trump's presidency compared to the first 100 days of previous presidents in U.S. history.[88] The stock market continued to perform well after President Trump's first 100 days.[89] President Trump played a large role in causing this rise.[90]

On June 1, 2017, the same day President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the day after,[91] the stock market rose strongly, mainly due to news of increased economic growth.[92] On August 2, 2017, the Dow Jones closed above 22,000 for the first time in its history, after six days of consecutive record highs.[93] By early October 2017, the Dow Jones industrial average closed 62 times at record-highs and had risen nearly 25% since the 2016 presidential election.[94] The Dow Jones passed the 23,000 mark for the first time on October 17, 2017 and closed for the first time above 23,000 the next day, the fifth 1,000-point milestone since Trump's election in November 2016.[95] Between Trump inauguration and mid-January 2018, the Dow Jones rose by 31%, the largest rise in the first year of a U.S. presidency since Franklin D. Roosevelt's first year in office,[96] and the S&P 500 rose 23%, the highest ever for a Republican president's first year in office.[97]

Of course, the stock market did not see only growth during the Trump Administration in 2017; on May 17, 2017, for example, the Dow Jones fell 372 points (1.78%) due to the fallout from the James Comey controversy.[98] The stock market also fell after President Trump spoke harshly against North Korea.[99]


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