Trump's first year of GDP growth is very, very average, historically speaking

Story highlights

  • US gross domestic product grew 2.3% during 2017
  • The average over the last 20 years has been 2.2% growth
  • Trump has repeatedly promised 3% growth or higher during his tenure

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump took the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday morning with an announcement: "After years of stagnation, the United States is once again experiencing strong economic growth."

Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Bureau of Economic Analysis was releasing new annual numbers on the US economy -- economic measures that, historically, look incredibly average.
    Those numbers showed the US economy grew by 2.3% over the first year of Trump's presidency, a mark that indicates faster growth than last year but, so far, still falls short of Trump's goal to hit 3% in GDP growth.
    It's also pretty average.
    Take a look at what change in GDP has looked like over the last half century.
    The average growth in GDP over former President Barack Obama's second term? 2.2%. The average over the last two decades? 2.2%. The average back to 1970? 2.8%. And the average back all the way to 1930? 3.3%.
    The year 2017 will place 11th in GDP growth over the last 20 years. (Recently, growth in the national economy was higher than 2013 and 2016 but lower than 2014 and 2015.)
    This is according to a CNN analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    Trump had predicted another quarter of GDP growth over 3% just this Wednesday in a speech to the country's mayors.
    "You take a look at your GDP then and take a look at what's happened now," he started. "We'll have three quarters in a row over 3. We had 3.2, and a lot of people thought it would take two or three years to get there. And we're going to be hitting 4 soon, and then we're going to be hitting 5s."
    The fourth quarter of 2017 clocked in at 2.6% growth.
    To be sure, there are lots of other measures of the current robustness of the American economy: the national unemployment rate is hovering near an all-time low and the stock market has soared to all-time highs over and over in recent months.
    Plus, positive views of the US economy is at its best since 2000, according to recent CNN polling.
    Still, throughout his campaign, he predicted that GDP growth would hit 3% -- stretching his prediction to include even faster change recently.
    "I see no reason why we don't go to 4, 5, and even 6%," he said in a December Cabinet meeting. "And I don't want to go beyond that because then it will be criticized if we don't hit it."