Fact check: Biden falsely claims US has ‘world’s fastest growing economy’


“Look, here’s where we are. We have the fastest growing economy in the world. The world. The world,” Biden said.

When asked Friday, a White House official did not attempt to specifically defend Biden’s claim that the United States has the fastest growing economy in the world.

Instead, the official pointed out that the 5.7% growth in the United States real gross domestic product in 2021 was the fastest for the country since 1984. The official also pointed out that the International Monetary Fund has forecast that from the fourth quarter of this year, the size of the US economy will be larger compared to its end of 2019 pre-pandemic level than any of the other six countries in the international forum known as the Group of Seven: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

These comments are correct. But Biden said three times on Kimmel’s show that the U.S. economy is growing faster than any other country in “the world,” not just faster than six countries in particular. And that is incorrect.

“Obviously, the United States is the most successful G-7 economy in terms of GDP growth rate since the onset of COVID, but it’s not literally the fastest growing economy. fastest in the world during this period,” said Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrettia former International Monetary Fund official who is now a senior fellow at the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution think tank.

How the United States Compares

Biden took office in late January 2021. Among the dozens of countries that experienced faster real GDP growth than the United States in 2021 were Ireland (13.5%), Chile (11.7%), Turkey (11%), Colombia (10.6%), India (8.7% for the financial year beginning in April 2021), Greece (8.3%), Israel (8.2%), China (8.1%), the UK (7.4%), France (7%) and Italy (6.6%), according to IMF figures and country governments. (Many countries’ growth rates were higher than usual in 2021 because their economies were rebounding from the 2020 economic crisis caused by the pandemic.)
An economic perspective out this week by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development predicted that the United States would grow by 2.5% in 2022. This was lower than the OECD projections for 2022 for 11 other members of the G20 international forum: l Saudi Arabia (7.8%), India (6.9% for the year), Indonesia (4.7%), China (4.4%), Australia (4.2%), Spain ( 4.1%), Canada (3.8%), Turkey (3.7%), United Kingdom (3.6%), Argentina (3.6%) and South Korea (2.7%).

We will add a caveat. There are different ways to measure growth – among other things, you can choose different starting and ending points and different measures of economic activity – and there are various complications involved in the data.

Laura Veldkamp, a finance professor at Columbia University’s business school, said there was “no way” Biden’s claim was true if he used “the fastest growing” the usual way, referring to a percentage change. She said, however, that she would personally describe the president’s claim as “misleading” rather than false, because “the word growth in conversation can mean a lot of things.”

We respectfully stand by our most severe conclusion. If Biden was citing an unusual or obscure growth metric, he could have explained it. He didn’t, and neither did the White House when asked to comment.

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