Do you know how the US economy is actually doing? Try our interactive quiz

Do you know how the US economy is actually doing? Try our interactive quiz

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The United States is less than six months away from sending either Joe Biden or Donald Trump back to the White House.

For many voters mulling this decision, the economy is front of mind. But how it’s doing, and how it’s feeling, are not one and the same.

A majority of Americans believe the US is in recession, according to a Harris poll conducted for the Guardian. It isn’t.

Do you know how the US economy has been performing? The Guardian created this quiz to find out. Plot your answer on each chart, and then hit ‘submit your guess’ to see how it squares with reality.

The world’s largest economy
Donald Trump and Joe Biden both claim the world’s largest economy will be at risk if the other wins in November. How do you think US gross domestic product changed during their presidencies?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
US economy starts 2017 with aGDP of $19.3trn
Draw to here
(in trillions)
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
$8.5k
$30.1k
Biden Inaugurated
Source: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
How Wall Street has fared
When the US stock market rallied, Donald Trump liked to claim it was a barometer of his presidency. But how do you think it actually performed – under his administration, and that of Joe Biden’s, over the last eight years?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
S&P 500 at 2,263.69 as Trumptakes office
Draw to here
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
0k
5.8k
Biden Inaugurated
Source: New York Stock Exchange
How the workforce has fared
Jobs are at the heart of every election campaign. Both candidates in this election tout their respective records as job creators. But the US workforce suffered a once-in-a-generation blow at the onset of the pandemic. How do you think its size changed under Trump and under Biden?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
America had 145.6m workers inJanuary 2017
Draw to here
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
124.8m
166.4m
Biden Inaugurated
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Inflation nation
Covid-19 unleashed shockwaves through the US economy, triggering vast swings in supply and demand, inflating prices. Everything from groceries and cars to rent and clothes became more expensive. How do you think the monthly rate of inflation – the rate at which prices rise – changed?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
The consumer price index rose2.5% in January 2017
Draw to here
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
-6%
11%
Biden Inaugurated
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Prices at the pump
Few issues are more divisive during an election than how much voters are shelling out at gas stations. It is an issue largely out of any president’s hands – tied, as it is, to global oil markets and the actions of vast energy multinationals – and front of mind for millions of Americans. How do you think prices have shifted?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
Fuel cost an average of $2.46per gallon in January 2017
Draw to here
(per gallon)
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
$1
$6
Biden Inaugurated
Source: US Energy Information Administration
Paying the rent
With a housing crisis spanning across the US, with more than a third of households renting, rather than owning, their own homes, rent has a massive impact on the financial well-being of millions. How do you think rents have changed under the last two presidents?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
Median US rent was $1,332 inJanuary 2017
Draw to here
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
$550
$2.1k
Biden Inaugurated
Source: Zillow
Scrambled grocery prices
When inflation surges, supermarket shelves are a constant reminder of rising prices. But when inflation falls, the change is often harder to spot. Egg prices rose sharply when an avian-influenza outbreak killed millions of birds. How do you think they have changed over the past eight years?

Draw a line with your mouse starting from the red dot to the end of the graph.
A dozen eggs cost $1.60 onaverage in January 2017
Draw to here
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
$0
$6
Biden Inaugurated
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
This is what we’re up against
Teams of lawyers from the rich and powerful trying to stop us publishing stories they don’t want you to see.

Lobby groups with opaque funding who are determined to undermine facts about the climate emergency and other established science.

Authoritarian states with no regard for the freedom of the press.

Bad actors spreading disinformation online to undermine democracy.

***

But we have something powerful on our side.

We’ve got you.

The Guardian is funded by readers like you in Canada and the only person who decides what we publish is our editor.

If you want to join us in our mission to share independent, global journalism to the world, we’d love to have you on side.

the Guardian