The U.S. economy is subject to complex, interconnected forces too innumerable for any one person to account for or anticipate. Still, when it comes to the health of the economy, the buck often stops at the president’s desk.
While by no means a comprehensive measure of economic health, the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index is often used as a proxy for overall economic prosperity. The best known stock market index, the Dow tracks the value of 30 public company stocks that together represent all major industries except for transportation and utilities and includes many of the largest companies in the world. Here is a look at the biggest company the year you were born.
The Dow’s performance has varied under each president. Under a handful of administrations, the DJIA dropped, losing as much as 82%. Under the leadership of others, the Dow more than tripled.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Dow’s performance under every president since the end of WWI, calculating the percent change in the index during each president’s term. We used non-inflation adjusted month-end closing values for each president’s first and last months in office.
The Dow’s performance is not always directly linked to decisions the sitting commander in chief makes. More often, the direction of the index is attributable to factors beyond the president’s control, from geopolitical incidents to decisions made by the Federal Reserve or even a previous president.