There are three numbers that President Trump loves to use to prove how well he’s doing: television ratings, polls and the stock market.
On Thursday, he celebrated the ratings his State of the Union address had earned (though he also lied about how they stacked up against his predecessors). He hasn’t been tweeting about poll numbers much recently because they haven’t been that good; last year, when they were similarly poor, he instead regularly tweeted about how well the markets were doing as a proxy for his success.
Or, more than a proxy. As Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway put it on Twitter a year ago, stock prices were a reflection of views of his “policies, action, and vision.”
If that’s so, the markets have at least temporarily fallen out of love with Trump’s approach to the economy. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 666 points.
That’s the largest single-day fall of his presidency. In fact, it’s the sharpest plunge since 2008 and the sixth-worst fall since 1980. (The five days that were worse happened when markets reopened after 9/11 and during the economic crisis in late 2008.)
The fall was attributed in part to the jobs numbers released Friday morning, showing a year-over-year increase in wages that some fear might lead to inflation. But the drop wasn’t just a function of that jobs report: For the week, the Dow fell 1,096 points.
That’s the third-worst week since 1980, following 9/11 and the economic crisis.
However! When Trump has celebrated big surges in the value of the Dow, we’ve been quick to note that, as a percentage, those increases have been relatively normal. The same holds true here.
There have been 54 weeks with worse relative drops — meaning as a percentage of the value of the market. The Dow lost 4.1 percent of its value this week, which is a lot. It was a worse week than 97 percent of the weeks since 1980. But it was better than 2-plus-percent of them.
The worst weeks came in moments of crisis: Black Monday in 1987, Sept. 11, 2001, and the recession. We’re not at that point yet, but don’t expect Trump to tweet about how well the markets are doing this weekend.
There are always those TV ratings.