President Barack Obama presented a range of statistics designed to show his economic record in a positive light during his 2016 State of the Union address. He kicked it off with this assertion: “The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”
A reader asked us to fact-check this after hearing a similar claim by Obama in an interview with Matt Lauer in the run-up to the State of the Union. So we took a closer look. We should note up front that many of the experts we checked with considered Obama’s claim to be vague and difficult to prove. “This is the type of braggadocio statement that is hard to interpret in a rigorous way,” said Barry Bosworth, an economist at the Brookings Institution. However, many of the same experts agreed that if you had to choose one country for the title of “strongest, most durable economy in the world,” it would be the United States. When we asked the White House for their evidence, a spokeswoman said the United States is the world’s largest economy at current market exchange rates.