Trump Biggest Agent of Economic Doubt: Survey

When it concerns economic uncertainty, the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has been more tumultuous than the 1987 stock market crash and the 2008 financial crisis.

The Economic Policy Uncertainty Index shows Trump's election stands as the third-biggest source of uncertainty in the index's 30-plus-year history, eclipsed only by the 9/11 terrorist attack and the battle over the fiscal cliff in 2011 in terms of generating doubt about future economic policy.

While the EPU index -- which was devised by economists from Stanford and Northwestern Universities and the University of Chicago — has come off its high from the November election, it remains elevated, coming in month after month of the Trump presidency well above its long-run average.

The index measures the occurrence in newspaper articles of words related to economic uncertainty and politics, including the Federal Reserve, Congress and the White House, and has accurately pointed out the moments of major economic turmoil of the past three decades.

The index's creators do not argue that it means recession necessarily follows. They only say there is a measurable economic effect from uncertainty and urge lawmakers to keep that in mind as they make decisions, for example, to shut down the government over deficit battles.