This is not an indication that he is confident in how he stacks up.
Nonetheless, Trump insisted in that same interview that he has “done more than any other president in the first 100 days.” And to help make that case, the White House website now features a page detailing “President Trump’s first 100 days.” In three big buckets — “Building American Prosperity,” “Keeping Americans Safe and Strengthening Security Abroad” and “Making Government Accountable to the People” — the site details some of Trump’s wins.
Here are the six points under “Building American Prosperity.”
- Over 500,000 new jobs — with a surge in female employment last month
- Approved the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline
- Promoting America’s energy independence
- President Trump has rolled back job-killing coal regulations
- Buy American, Hire American executive order
- Putting the American worker first, President Trump has taken immediate action on trade
Caveats should be applied to several of those bullet points: The job-killing coal regulations, for example, may have created as many jobs in compliance as were lost, and the Keystone XL pipeline is projected to create only a small number of long-term jobs. But to the broader point here, let’s focus on that first one.
More than 500,000 new jobs — with a surge in female employment last month. There are two claims being made. The first is that there were 500,000 new jobs in Trump’s administration. The second is that female employment “surged.” These are claims central to Trump’s claims of 100-day success; they’re the first claims on the page. So, how do they stack up?
Here’s the number of new jobs — that is, the change in the number of people employed — month over month since the beginning of Barack Obama’s first presidential term.
Relative to the months prior, 216,000 jobs were added in January, 219,000 in February and 98,000 last month. Those latter two figures are likely to be revised in the next jobs report, out at the beginning of May. But taking them at their face value, that’s 533,000 jobs added, to Trump’s point.
But notice that, over the track of time, that number is not all that big. In fact, 53 times over the course of Obama’s two terms, there were three-month stretches that yielded more jobs than the first three months of Trump’s presidency. That’s including the November 2016 to January 2017 stretch since, after all, Obama was president for 20.5 of the 31 days that month. If you prorate the number of jobs in January relative to how long Trump was in office — about a third of the month — 390,000 jobs have been added during his tenure.
That point about the surge in women going to work is represented in the charts below.
In February and March, there were indeed big jumps in how many women were employed. Only twice over the course of Obama’s two terms did more women find employment in a single month.
That said, the coin has a flip side. Although about 475,000 more women were employed in March than in February, dropping the unemployment rate from 4.6 percent to 4.3 percent, the number of men who were employed fell by 5,000. That fact didn’t make it into Trump’s 100-day bragging.
Put another way: Trump’s team is cherry-picking a bit here. Continued employment growth is good; a surge in women gaining employment is good as well. But the former is not particularly exceptional and the latter also draws attention to the (minor) negative turn for men.
When you’re scrambling to produce a list of victories, though, you take what you can get.