In the 34 months since November of 2016 the U.S. unemployment rate has declined -1.2% through August 2019. Across the counties that President Trump campaigned in, the average decline has been roughly -1% (through July 2019).
In Pennsylvania, county level unemployment rates have declined an average of -1.5%; in Texas the decline has been -1.9%; Alabama a whopping -3.1%; and in coal loving West Virginia -1.1%.
Major Trump policies fall under the mantra “America First”. The goals of this approach entail – among other things – domestic energy independence, the adoption of “fair-trade” tariffs, and a reduction in the flow of illegal aliens. The policies effectiveness or lack thereof can be partially assessed by county level variation in labor market outcomes. President Trump has tended to focus most on the unemployment rate in his “Thank you Tour” and “2020 Campaign” rallies, so that is what I’ve chosen to focus on.
Effects of Energy Policy
Domestic field production of crude oil has increased 29% from November 2016 through July of 2019. Counties reliant on oil production have seen their unemployment rates decline an average of -1.5% versus an average decline of -1% for non-oil producing counties. Coal production has declined -16.5% since Trump took office. In-spite of this the average decline in unemployment rates for counties with coal mines has been -1.8% versus -1% for counties without coal mines. This suggests to me that while coal miners might leave Trump in 2020, their neighbors will stand by his side.
What about the Farmers?