Fact Check: Has the US economy annually grown ‘at less than 2%’ during the past decade?

DCNFKush Desai, DCNF

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford claimed that the U.S. “economy has grown at less than 2 percent on average every single year for 10 years” on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday.

“What we have encouraged is a bump on the economy with tax reform,” the Republican senator later continued.

Verdict: True

Although U.S. economic growth has exceeded 2 percent during many of the past 10 years, annual economic growth for the past decade indeed averages “at less than 2 percent.”

Fact Check:

The metric most commonly used to measure the size of a country’s economy is a statistic called Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Typically calculated either annually or quarterly, GDP tabulates the sum of all goods and services produced by individuals, businesses, and governments in an economy.

Data from the Federal Reserve Bank Of St. Louis reveal that annual GDP growth rates – simply the percent change in GDP from one year to the next – between 2006 and 2016 have fluctuated significantly. In 2008, GDP growth was negative 2.7 percent, indicating that the economy shrunk by almost three percent; in 2010 and 2013, conversely, GDP grew by 2.7 percent.

Annual GDP growth rates over the entire ten-year span, however, average 1.5 percent. This means that America’s economy has grown at an average of 1.5 percent “every single year for [the past] 10 years.”

Although recent GDP growth rate numbers have exceeded expectations, the past decade’s average 1.5 percent growth rate is less than half of the U.S.’s 3.3 percent average annual growth from the 1970s through the 1990s, NPR reports.

Lankford’s claim that the U.S. economy has grown at “less than 2 percent on average every single year” for the past decade holds up to the facts.

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