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Best And Worst Presidents By Important Economic Indicators

With Employment, Industrial Production, Productivity, and Retail Sales now in, now seems like a good time to update how these big 4 economic indicators look by U.S. president.

Before looking: Could you guess which U.S. president oversaw the highest Employment growth during his tenure? What about Retail Sales, Industrial Production, or Productivity? Would you go for Clinton or Reagan? Some of the results will likely surprise you.

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Economic Indicators - Employment

Here’s the Employment picture.

In terms of total growth over the entire administration, Bill Clinton comes out on top at 21%. If one adjusts for length of time in office, then Lyndon Johnson is the winner at 20% over just 5 years.

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Other high employment presidents include Truman and Reagan.

On the bottom end, Obama and Bush II are the bottom-dwellers.

D Employment by U.S. President

Industrial Production

Here’s a look at the Industrial Production picture.

Overall, Bill Clinton was the top Industrial Production president, with Industrial Production expanding about 44% over his 96 months in office. Of course, if one takes average growth rather than total growth (because some presidents didn’t make it eight years), Lyndon Johnson comes out on top.

On the other end, the least positive president was George W. Bush (Bush II), with Industrial Production declining 2% over his Administration. This is unsurprising given that the housing market collapsed at the end of his tenure.

Interestingly, Barack Obama has a change to perhaps match Ronald Reagan if he can survive another year and a half without a recession. Perhaps the Fed will give him some love.

D Industrial Production by U.S. President

Retail Sales

Here’s the Retail Sales picture.

The best Retail Sales president was Ronald Reagan, seeing consumers expand spending by 68% over his tenure.

On the other end, the housing-market induced collapse caused George W. Bush to come in last.

Interestingly, at this point in their presidency, Obama and Bush II are about equal.

D Retail Sales by U.S. President

Economic Indicators - Productivity

Here’s the Productivity picture.

Fascinatingly, and perhaps the most surprising of all the results, George W. Bush comes out on top at 20%, followed by Clinton at 18%.

On the other end, Obama and Carter are the bottom dwellers.

D. Productivity by U.S. President Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators - Conclusion

In a review of Employment, Industrial Production, Productivity, and Retail Sales by U.S. president, some surprising results occur.

The best Employment president was Bill Clinton if total growth is counted, and Lyndon Johnson is it’s average growth.

Akin to Employment, the best Industrial Production president was Bill Clinton for total growth and Lyndon Johnson for average growth.

The best Retail Sales president was Ronald Reagan.

The best Productivity president was George W. Bush.

On the other end, the worst Employment president was George W. Bush.

The worst Industrial Production president was George W. Bush.

The worst Retail Sales president was George W. Bush.

And, the worst Productivity presidents are Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

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