John F. Kennedy

January 20, 1961 - November 21, 1963

Last updated: March 8th, 2021

John F. Kennedy was president from 1961 until his term was cut short with his assassination in 1963. To stimulate economic growth, Kennedy greatly increased federal spending. He ran the first ever federal deficit in a non-war, non-recession year. He also pushed for major tariff reductions.

Kennedy loosened monetary policy and increased fiscal spending. The economy grew at an average 5.5% per year while Kennedy was president, while inflation remained low at 1%. Unemployment dropped from 7% to 5.5%. 

Summary of John F. Kennedy’s performance

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

IndicatorCumulative Gain/Loss
NASDAQN/A
DOW15.85%
S&P19.83%
Job Growth6.65%
GDP Growth15.92%

Key Policies
  • Kennedy pressures US Steel Corp to drop 3.5% price hike (Mar 1962)

  • Trade Expansion Act (Oct 1962)
  • Revenue Act of 1964 (Feb 1964, after JFK’s death, but he proposed the legislation in 1963)

Key Events
  • Alan Sheppard is the first American in space (May 1961)

  • Construction of Berlin Wall begins (Aug 1961)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct 1962)
  • MLK delivers “I Have A Dream” speech (Aug 1963), Kennedy Assassination (Nov 1963)

John F. Kennedy's stock market performance

Under John F. Kennedy’s presidency, the S&P 500 gained 19.83%, the NASDAQ gained N/A and the Dow Jones gained 15.85%. Annualized, the S&P 500 gained 6.58%, the NASDAQ gained N/A and the Dow Jones gained 5.32%

Here is John F. Kennedy’s cumulative stock market performance broken out by term.

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
NASDAQN/AN/A
DOW15.85%N/A
S&P19.83%N/A

Stock Performance Chart

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Kennedy GDP growth performance
During John F. Kennedy’s presidency, the GDP gained 15.92%. That translates annually as GDP gained 5.63%.

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

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
GDP Growth15.92%N/A

GDP Performance Chart

Kennedy jobs growth performance
During John F. Kennedy’s presidency, payrolls grew 6.65% cumulatively. That translated to an annualized jobs groth of 2.34%.

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

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
Job Growth6.65%N/A

Job Growth Performance Chart
How we calculate President Kennedy'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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