As the first one-on-one US presidential debate began, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump put forward competing visions for the US economy.

Mrs Clinton accused Mr Trump of pushing economic policy that favoured the rich at the expense of the middle class.

She said Mr Trump's tax policies were akin to "Trumped-up trickle-down" economics.

"The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again.

"And in fact it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percents of the people in this country that we've ever had.

"I call it Trumped-up trickle-down, because that's exactly what it would be. That's not how we grow the economy," she said.

Mr Trump hit back at Mrs Clinton for her trade policies.

"We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us," he said.

As the candidates sparred over how to increase US jobs, Mr Trump said: "I will bring back jobs. You can't bring back jobs."

"I know you live in your own reality, but those are not the facts," Mrs Clinton said, after Mr Trump took her to task over her support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Mr Trump accusing the former secretary of state of being "all talk, no action".

Each accused the other of distortions and falsehoods and urged viewers to check their websites for the facts. 

The debate got heated at points prompting Mrs Clinton to say: "I  have a feeling I'm going to be blamed for everything."

"Why not?" Mr Trump retorted.

While Mr Trump directed his comments at voters in the swing states such as Ohio and Michigan, Mrs Clinton appealed to middle-class voters.

In opening her comments on the economy, she said: "My father was a small businessman. He worked really hard. He printed drapery fabric...and so what I believe is the more we can do for the middle classes - the more we can invest in you," she said.

In response, Mr Trump said: "Our jobs are fleeing the country, they are going to Mexico, they're going to many other countries."

"We are losing our good jobs. Thousands of jobs leaving, leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio - they're all leaving," he said.

Mrs Clinton knocked Mr Trump for not releasing his income tax returns and said that decision raised questions about whether he was as rich and charitable as he has said. She noted that the few years of tax returns he had released showed that despite his wealth, he had paid no federal income tax.

"That makes me smart," Mr Trump said.

"I have a tremendous income," he said at one point, adding that it was about time that someone running the country knew something about money.

Mrs Clinton criticised Mr Trump for failing to pay some of the business people with whom his company had contracted. She said she had met a lot of people who had been cheated by her opponent.

Mr Trump said such incidents of non-payment had taken place when the work was unsatisfactory.

Mrs Clinton said: "The central question in this election is really, what kind of country do we want to be and what kind of future we'll build together.

"First, we have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just just those at the top. That means we need new jobs, good jobs with rising incomes.

"I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business," she said.