US President Donald Trump’s speech was filled with praise for the strong economy. But did his numbers add up?
1. ‘Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades.’
Last year, average hourly earnings increased by 85 cents, or 3.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This isn’t the highest for decades though; it’s the highest since 2009.
The wage growth does not take inflation into account. The current inflation rate is 1.9% for the 12 months ended December 2018, according to the labour department.
2. ‘We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs’
This is another exaggeration. From Jan 2017 to Jan 2019, the US added 4.9 million jobs in total, including 454,000 in manufacturing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The president appears to have inflated his numbers by going from the date of the 2016 election, rather than the date he assumed office.
However, the economy is growing under the Trump administration – a trend that began under President Barack Obama.
3. ‘Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs’
This is true. Many other countries directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to regulate the prices.
The US spent $1,443 per capita on pharmaceutical costs in 2016, compared to a range of $466 to $939 in 10 other high income countries, including the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.