On Friday, President Joe Biden made a bold assertion, contending that Americans are experiencing improved financial well-being during his presidency, and they are fully aware of it. However, a fact-check reveals that both of these assertions are unfounded. During Biden's time in office, the average unemployment rate has stood at 4.2 percent, whereas under the tenure of former President Trump, unemployment averaged five percent. It is worth noting that the spike in unemployment during the pandemic cannot be attributed to any president's economic management.
When specifically examining the period before the pandemic, the average unemployment rate during Trump's presidency was 3.9 percent, slightly lower than Biden's average of 3.7 percent. However, the impact of inflation must also be considered. Inflation has been notably higher under Biden's administration, with an average increase of six percent, compared to just 1.9 percent under Trump. When both inflation and unemployment are factored into the misery index, Americans have experienced greater economic hardship under Biden compared to Trump.
Furthermore, when we analyze real disposable income and average hourly wages, the data paints a similar picture. Under Biden's leadership, real disposable income decreased from $16.6 trillion in the final year of Trump's administration to $16.1 trillion. Additionally, average hourly wages saw greater growth under Trump (8 percent) compared to Biden (12.75 percent). However, it's crucial to consider the impact of inflation on wage gains. Under Trump, inflation eroded 4.9 percentage points of wage gains, resulting in a real average gain of 3.1 percent for workers. Conversely, inflation during Biden's tenure has wiped out 15 percentage points of wage gains, causing real wage gains to turn negative. On average, average hourly wages have declined by 2.25 percent under Biden.
Contrary to Biden's assertion, numerous polls indicate that Americans actually believe they are worse off under his presidency. An ABC News/Washington Post poll revealed that 4 in 10 Americans believe they are worse off under Biden, marking the highest percentage in nearly four decades. In the most recent Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans rated the economy as poor, with an additional 32 percent rating it as "only fair." Combined, this negative assessment totals 80 percent. In January 2021, during the transition between Trump and Biden amid the pandemic, only 39 percent of Americans rated economic conditions as poor, and 33 percent rated them as only fair, amounting to a negative assessment of 72 percent. When comparing equivalent periods of their respective administrations, Trump's economy was 42 points ahead of Biden's.
Gallup's measure of economic confidence also reflects a significant decline. At the end of Trump's presidency, the score stood at 40, indicating positive economic confidence. However, in September, the score plummeted to a negative 39, signifying a 79-point decline. These numbers unmistakably demonstrate that Americans are indeed facing greater economic challenges under Biden's presidency, and they are keenly aware of it.
In summary, President Biden's claims that Americans are financially better off under his leadership and that they acknowledge this fact are not supported by the data. Metrics such as unemployment, inflation, disposable income, and wages contradict these assertions. Moreover, public opinion polls suggest that the majority of Americans believe they are experiencing economic difficulties under Biden. The evidence is compelling—Americans are enduring greater financial hardships during Biden's presidency.