Three things to know ahead of Trump’s State of the Union

    President Donald Trump will deliver his third State of the Union address tonight. Here are a few things to know about the economy, education and government action in the United States last year in advance of the speech.

    1. Growth in gross domestic product was roughly in line with previous years’ change.

    2. More than three in five eighth graders (still) aren’t proficient in math or reading.

    3. Much of what the federal government did last year was either ceremonial or related to defense. There were 216 federal government actions — bills signed into law, executive orders or agency rules — in 2019 that had an impact on the economy of $100 million or more, according to not-for-profit, nonpartisan data organization USAFacts. Many ceremonial actions renamed post offices, and new legislation included the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 and a law intended to help small businesses after disasters.

    Rilyn Eischens
    Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn is a Minnesota native and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.