Love him or hate him, you have to admit that President Donald Trump knows how to put on a show, even if it’s the State of the Union address.
The address covered a wide array of topics, but a central theme was the record-setting economic growth and low unemployment rate in the United States achieved under his administration. To thunderous applause, President Trump offered glowing, ebullient statistics on the state of the economy and job market. In particular, he bragged about the “blue-collar boom” in jobs.
As evidenced in the jobs report each month, it’s fair to say that employment has hit new highs for over 100 consecutive months. Unemployment is at historically low levels, including blacks, Hispanics, women and other groups.
In the SOTU, Trump boasted that the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners increased by 47%, three times faster than the increase for the richest 1%. Trump also claimed that wages for low-income workers are swiftly rising with a 16% pay increase since he took office. This resulted, according to Trump, in “a blue-collar boom.”
While Trump refers to a “blue-collar boom,” it seems like a misnomer. When people think of blue-collar work, they visualize construction, assembly lines, factories and manufacturing. These are the industries that once led American growth and served as a gateway for millions of Americans to enter the middle class and afford better lives for their children. Bringing back these jobs is a big part of Trump’s agenda. Unfortunately, many of these sectors are not doing that well. For instance, last month’s jobs report indicated strong gains in the service industries, yet traditional blue-collar jobs declined or remained flat. This trend has remained stubbornly constant.