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Presidents by Economic Peformance Index

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Here's a ranking of the US Presidents by Economic Performance Index (EPI). Basically, this combines real GDP growth, unemployment, inflation, and budget deficit. The positive/negative number denotes whether or not the the EPI was better or worse at the end of this presidents presidency as compared to when they took office. 

  1. FDR, +33.1 (Reason: Hoover and the Great Depression and WWII.)
  2. Taft, 18.9 (The best economic performance by a president not rebounding from a major recession)
  3. Tyler 17.3 (Rebounding from the Jackson-Van Buren economic panic)
  4. Truman 15.9 (post-war boom)
  5. Reagan 15.1 (Rebounding from Ford-Carter stagflation and energy crisis)
  6. Harding 14.2 (Rebounding from post-War boom)
  7. Hayes 13.2 (Rebounding from the Panice of 1872--sometimes called the long recession)
  8. Fillmore 11 (Likely benefitting from economic gains from Mexican War acquisitions)
  9. Obama 9.9 (Rebounding from the Great Recession)
  10. McKinley 7.2 (Rebounding from the sluggish economy of Cleveland and Harrison)
  11. John Adams, 5.9 (Economy improves based off Hamilton policies under Washington)
  12. Ford, 5.9 (Rebounding from Oil Crisis...surprising considered Staglation hit Ford's presidency)
  13. Clinton 5.9 (Best performance by a two-term president not rebounding from a major economic crisis)
  14. Monroe 5.7 (Post-war boom--Era of Good Feelings)
  15. Benj. Harrison 4.8 (Rebounding from Cleveland's economic issues)
  16. Grant 4.2 (Post-war boom)
  17. Madison 3.7 (Rebounded from Jefferson's disasterous embargo)
  18. Coolidge 3.1 (The third best president that achieved economic success without rebounding or post-war boom)
  19. JFK 3.0 (Rebounding from the late 1950s Eisenhower recession)
  20. Trump 2.2 (As of December 2019----He will certainly be in the negatives at the end of his only term b/c of the Coronavirus Recession. This means Presidet Biden will likely see a positive number.)
  21. Buchanan 1.8 (I can't really explain this)
  22. JQ Adams 1.2 (Probably had something to do with his emphasis on internal improvements to facilitate domestic trade)
  23. Jackson 1.2 (Probably helped by policies of JQ Adams)
  24. Washington 0 (Had no predecessor, but he certainly saw a stronger economy than the Continental Congress saw)
  25. WH Harrison 0 (For obvious reasons)
  26. Garfield 0 (For obvious reasons)
  27. Eisenhower -3.2 (Hit with recession at end of term)
  28. Bush I -3.2 (Reaganomics was slowing down)
  29. Cleveland's 1st term -3.7 (Hit with a mild economic panic)
  30. Andrew Johnson -4.2 (Dealing with Civil War devestation, which delayed a post-war boom)
  31. LBJ -4.2 (While economy maintained its historic strength, no doubt expensive domestic and foreign policy made a dent)
  32. Taylor -4.5 (Can't really explain this. No post-war boom as is usually the case. It seems to have been delayed)
  33. Pierce -5 (Can't explain this)
  34. Polk -5.9 (Likely the Mexican War)
  35. Cleveland's 2nd term -8.6 (Recession that began in his first term and was eventually made worse by Harrison)
  36. Van Buren -9.7 (Jackson ruined the economy, but it hit when Van Buren held office.)
  37. Bush II -10.8 (Two wars and the Great Recession)
  38. Nixon -11.5 (Combination of the oil crisis and the Nixon Shock--abandoning the gold standard for fiat)
  39. Carter -12.2 (continued Staglation from Ford + Energy crisis)
  40. Arthur -14.3 (I can't explain the steepness of this number for Arthur)
  41. Jefferson -15.2 (His embargo of the UK and France wrecked the industrial North, especially New England.)
  42. Wilson -18.2 (WW I undoubtebly hurt the economy and the post-war boom was delayed by the world rebuilding)
  43. Theodore Roosevelt -18.9 (He was hit by an economic panic but it was quickly resolved. I can't explain this number.)
  44. Lincoln -30.7 (Civil War--country lost a large portion of its country--trade was difficult)
  45. Hoover -45.8 (Great Depression + following the Roaring 20's---thus, huge dive)

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