President Trump tweeted this a couple of hours ago, one day before the Virginia election for governor:
The state of Virginia economy, under Democrat rule, has been terrible. If you vote Ed Gillespie tomorrow, it will come roaring back!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2017
Naturally, everyone is now arguing about how well Virginia has been doing since Terry McAuliffe took over in January 2014. Unemployment is down! But GDP is meh! What’s the real deal?
Let me save you all some trouble. The Philadelphia Fed maintains something called the “coincident economic activity index” that’s a blend of employment, hours worked, and wages. It’s designed to provide a wide-angle look at how the entire economy is doing in each state. Here it is for Virginia compared to the country as a whole:
Since McAuliffe took over, Virginia’s economic activity index has grown slightly faster than the rest of the country. It’s not enough to make much of a difference, and I doubt the governor really has much influence over it anyway, but there it is.