Jimmy Carter

January 20, 1977 - January 19, 1981

Last updated: April 19th, 2024

Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter became president for one term starting in 1977. His administration faced a number of economic and environmental challenges at home while continuing the Nixon foreign policy of de-escalation with the Soviet Union.


As president Jimmy Carter inherited an economy in stagflation (rising prices and low growth simultaneously). He responded with fiscal policies to curb federal deficits and spending to decrease inflation. He also focused policy on energy conservation, but the economy faced another energy crisis in 1979 that precipitated a recession.

Summary of Jimmy Carter’s performance

Below is a table summarizing Jimmy Carter's cumulative and annualized performance across all the metrics we track. These are for the entirety of Jimmy Carter's term.

IndicatorCumulative Gain/Loss
Job Growth12.82%
GDP Growth14.27%

Key Policies
  • Emergency Natural Gas Act (Feb 1977)

  • Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (Oct 1978)
  • Revenue Act (Nov 1978)

Key Events
  • Camp David Accords (Sept 1978)

  • SALT II Agreement (June 1979)
  • Oil Prices Double from Nov 1978 to Nov 1979

Jimmy Carter's stock market performance

Under Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the S&P 500 gained 29.39%, the NASDAQ gained 106.64% and the Dow Jones gained 0.24%. Annualized, the S&P 500 gained 6.65%, the NASDAQ gained 19.88% and the Dow Jones gained 0.06%

Here is Jimmy Carter’s cumulative stock market performance broken out by term.

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2

Stock Performance Chart

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Carter GDP growth performance
During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the GDP gained 14.27%. That translates annually as GDP gained 3.43%.

Here is Carter’s cumulative GDP growth performance broken out by term.

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
GDP Growth14.27%N/A

GDP Performance Chart

Carter jobs growth performance
During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, payrolls grew 12.82% cumulatively. That translated to an annualized jobs groth of 3.10%.

Here is Carter’s cumulative job growth performance broken out by term.

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
Job Growth12.82%N/A

Job Growth Performance Chart
How we calculate President Carter's data for Facts First?

We capture the data as soon as it’s available to us – stock market data after daily market close, jobs data once a month and GDP data once a quarter. After verifying the raw data, we then calculate updated cumulative and annualized performance data for the current president (the data for previous presidents have been calculated and verified in advance).

Some metrics are measured daily (like stock market performance), monthly (like jobs growth) and quarterly (like GDP growth). We start measurement of performance for a president from the first full time period after their inauguration. For stock market performance, it is the first stock market day in office. For jobs growth, it’s either first full calendar month in office (so if you are inaugurated in the middle of January, the first full month is February). This ensures a consistent starting point across all presidencies.

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