Ronald Reagan

January 20, 1981 - January 19, 1989

Last updated: June 13th, 2024

Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor and governor of California. He was president from 1981 to 1989. His administration emphasized free market, supply-side economics to grow the tax base and a more robust national defense against the Soviet Union.


Ronald Reagan’s administration was characterized by his “Reaganomics” policies of stimulating economic growth through tax cuts. He escalated Cold War tensions with Russia and increased military spending to levels unseen since the end of the Vietnam War.

Summary of Ronald Reagan’s performance

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

IndicatorCumulative Gain/Loss
Job Growth17.72%
GDP Growth31.01%

Key Policies
  • Economic Recovery Tax Act (Aug 1981)

  • Tax Reform Act (Oct 1986)
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act (Nov 1986)

Key Events
  • Reagan Launches Anti-Ballistic Missile Strategic Defense Initiative (Mar 1983)

  • Mikhail Gorbachev fills Soviet power vacuum (Mar 1985)
  • Reagan Granted Amnesty to 3 million Immigrants (Nov 1986)

Ronald Reagan's stock market performance

Under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the S&P 500 gained 113.52%, the NASDAQ gained 94.02% and the Dow Jones gained 130.60%. Annualized, the S&P 500 gained 9.94%, the NASDAQ gained 8.63% and the Dow Jones gained 11.00%

Here is Ronald Reagan’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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Reagan GDP growth performance
During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the GDP gained 31.01%. That translates annually as GDP gained 3.45%.

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

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
GDP Growth12.63%31.01%

GDP Performance Chart

Reagan jobs growth performance
During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, payrolls grew 17.72% cumulatively. That translated to an annualized jobs groth of 2.07%.

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

IndicatorCumulative End of Term 1Cumulative End of Term 2
Job Growth5.86%17.72%

Job Growth Performance Chart
How we calculate President Reagan'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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