The final tally is in - Analysis

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The final tally is in - Analysis

Post by T on Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:06 pm

The numbers are nearly all in now. What they show about what really happened during the eight years that Barack Obama was president is sometimes different from what politicians claimed.

Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly:

* The economy gained a net 11.5 million jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to below the historical norm.

* Average weekly earnings for all workers were up 4.1 percent after inflation. The gain was 3.7 percent for just production and nonsupervisory employees.

* After-tax corporate profits also set records, as did stock prices. The S&P 500 index rose 166 percent.

* The number of people lacking health insurance dropped by 15 million. Premiums rose, but more slowly than before.

* The federal debt owed to the public rose 128 percent. Deficits were rising as Obama departed.

* Home prices rose 20 percent. But the home ownership rate hit the lowest point in half a century.

* Illegal immigration declined: The Border Patrol caught 35 percent fewer people trying to get into the U.S. from Mexico.

* Wind and solar power increased 369 percent. Coal production declined 38 percent. Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel dropped 11 percent.

* Production of handguns rose 192 percent, to a record level.

* The murder rate dropped to the lowest on record in 2014, then rose and finished at about the same rate as when Obama took office.

Analysis

Gathering statistics is a painstaking and time-consuming job. Figures on crime, household incomes and poverty in 2016 weren’t released until September 2017, for example.

But now we have a reasonably complete statistical picture of the Obama years, which began in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and ended with the highest level of household income ever recorded.

These facts often turn out to be at odds with the impressions created by candidates who, for example, claimed wages and incomes were stagnant when in fact they were rising. The facts also can conflict with impressions created by news media reporting dramatic but untypical events. Despite nonstop coverage of several mass shootings, for example, the murder rate was going down for most of the Obama years, hitting the lowest ever recorded in 2014.

Some of these figures remain subject to tweaks and revisions. Figures on handgun production in 2016 are still “preliminary,” for example, and others will remain subject to slight revisions for years to come, as statisticians routinely refine their methods and assumptions. We will keep this update current as necessary in the months and years to come. For now, it’s as “final” as possible.



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