Trump's presidency has boosted Clinton supporters in the labor market, study shows

The unemployment rate of those more likely to have supported President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election is lower than the rate of those more inclined to have supported his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.

However, likelier Clinton-ites have enjoyed more substantial wage gains and seen greater improvement when it comes to a broader measure of the labor market since Trump took office, according to a new report from Jed Kolko, chief economist at employment hub Indeed.

That study, which Kolko fleshed out this week in a piece published by The New York Times, found that the unemployment rate of those more likely to have voted for Trump – based on a model that factored in things like age, race, educational attainment, sex and marital status – in July sat at 3.6 percent. That was down from the 4 percent rate potential Trump voters enjoyed in January and the 4.3 percent national rate recorded in July.

Likelier Clinton voters, meanwhile, saw their comparative unemployment rate sit at 4.5 percent in July, down from 4.9 percent in January. Notably, likelier Clinton and Trump voters both saw their unemployment rates drop by 0.4 of a percentage point over the course of Trump's early months in office.

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States with the highest and lowest Trump job approval ratings

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Alabama

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Massachusetts

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Rhode Island

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Illinois

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Colorado

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Washington

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Meanwhile, Kolko wrote, "the prime-age employment-population ratio has risen by 0.4 percentage points for both groups. This measure, unlike the unemployment rate, accounts for whether people have dropped out of the labor force entirely. The prime-age labor force participation rate has also increased similarly for both groups."

But those more likely to have backed Clinton have a leg up in terms of the country's U-6 unemployment rate. That metric profiles a broader swath of Americans than the standard U-3 unemployment rate, which records only those without jobs who have actively looked for work in the past four weeks. The U-6 rate, on the other hand, counts those marginally attached to the labor market and those working part-time who want a full-time job.

Likelier Clinton supporters have seen their U-6 unemployment rate fall by 0.8 of a percentage point since Trump took office, compared with likelier Trump supporters' improvement of 0.6 of a point. Median usual weekly earnings for likelier Clinton backers also have climbed 2.9 percent – up from the 1.8 percent gain for those more likely to have supported Trump.

"The improvement in labor market outcomes for likelier Clinton supporters might, in part, be a closing of gaps that widened during the recession, such as racial differences in the unemployment rate," Kolko said, noting that "blacks, who tended to support Mrs. Clinton, endured more economic hardship during the recession than whites."

Despite these wage and labor market gains, however, Democrats remain widely pessimistic about the direction the U.S. economy is headed. And confidence among many Republicans has skyrocketed in recent months, despite the fact that relatively little has changed about their own personal financial situations.

Monthly consumer confidence trackers – which have surged to their highest levels in years following Election Day – regularly cite a partisan divide in their findings, with Republicans expecting the economy to take off and Democrats more wary of what's in store.

"The rise in political tribalism [is] one obvious explanation for partisan differences in confidence in the economy," Kolko said, noting that the gains his research identified for those more likely to have supported Clinton – and the more modest improvements enjoyed by voters more likely to have supported Trump – tilt "in a different direction than economic confidence."

Still, Kolko in the past has pointed to why likely Trump supporters may be optimistic, given Trump's focus on returning opportunity and jobs to industries and regions hit the hardest by technological innovation, globalization and shifting energy preferences.

"Counties that voted for President Trump have slower job growth, less-educated workforces and a higher share of jobs that are at risk from automation – all of which could contribute to greater economic anxiety," Kolko wrote in a report published earlier this year. "Furthermore, President Trump has emphasized policies to boost job growth in struggling industries and places, which prompted one economist to describe 'Trumponomics' as a redistribution of wealth toward places that supported Trump."

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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