President Trump on Wednesday took a victory lap on the nation's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, touting it as the "fastest" in U.S. history during virtual remarks delivered to the Economic Club of New York.
"In recent months, I have also acted swiftly to rescue the U.S. economy with an unprecedented $2.5 trillion dollars in aid," Trump said in his prepared speech, claiming the U.S. has seen both the "smallest economic contraction and the fastest recovery of any major Western country."
The U.S. economy shrank by 31.4% on an annual basis in the second quarter according to the Labor Department, the most severe downturn since the Great Depression. Still, the nation's GDP -- the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the country -- is expected to rebound at 35.2% in the third quarter, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow tracker.
According to figures published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. economy contracted 9% in the spring compared with the first three months of the year, a better performance than France at 13.8% and Canada at 11.5%.
Trump's remarks from the White House came a few weeks after the Labor Department released its September jobs report, revealing U.S. employers added 661,000 million jobs last month, sending the nation's unemployment rate tumbling to 8.4% from 7.9%.
While the figure marked the fourth straight month of job gains, it's well below the combined 7.5 million jobs added in May and June before hiring cooled in July, with growth of just 1.9 million positions, and in August, with 1.4 million added.
Since May, the economy has added back roughly half -- 11.4 million -- of the nearly 22 million jobs it lost during the pandemic, data show.
"We have created a record 11.4 million American jobs since May," Trump said. "If the left gains power, the recovery will be terminated and the economy will be destroyed. They have told us their exact plans."
Trump's comments come amid a monthlong deadlock between White House officials and Democratic leaders over another round of emergency relief for workers and businesses.
The president -- who urged Congress to "go big or go home" -- maintained the need for another aid package.