If the economy produces jobs over the next eight months at the same pace as it did over the past four months, the nation will have created more jobs in 2010 alone than it did over the entire eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency. That comparison comes with many footnotes and asterisks. But it shows how the economic debate between the parties could look very different over time — perhaps by November, more likely by 2012. More important, the comparison underscores the urgency of repairing an American job-creation machine that was sputtering long before the 2008 financial meltdown.
Among those many footnotes and asterisks: You’re measuring Bush’s job-creation numbers from the peak of one bubble (the dot-coms, January 2001) to the immediate popping of another (real estate, finance) January 2009. And of course, the unemployment rate has been higher for every month of Obama’s presidency than its worst peak during the Bush presidency (7.2 percent).
So Brownstein can offer the administration new ways to slice the numbers, but the public isn’t buying. The Wall Street Journal/NBC survey “shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the US economy remains in recession; an even larger 81 percent describe themselves as dissatisfied with the economy.”