The Corner

More on Job Creation

Yesterday, I looked at aggregate job-creation numbers, comparing presidents Bush and Obama. Today, I am looking at the number of private jobs created during President Bush’s eight years and comparing that with President Obama’s record, in order to test the accuracy of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s claim that President Obama is on track to create more jobs in 2010 than President Bush did in his entire eight years of office.

The chart below shows the monthly changes in private-sector jobs between January 2001 and January 2009:


I think this chart is stunning in a number of ways. Interestingly, if we leave out January 2009 from the calculation, President Bush’s net private-sector job creation is positive: 133,000 jobs. Also, this chart shows that during the Bush years, the country went through two recessions — I never realized how bad the first recession was until I looked at the data. In the first year and a half, 3.4 million jobs were lost.

Overall, during Bush’s eight years in office, 7.6 million jobs were created. As I mentioned yesterday, the net number is negative, mainly because of the overwhelming number of job losses during his last month in office. So far, under President Obama’s tenure, some 938,000 jobs have been created — after losing 3.2 million private jobs. And it could get worse. According to the front page of the New York Times today:

Less than a month before November elections, the United States is mired in a grim New Normal that could last for years. That has policy makers, particularly the Federal Reserve, considering a range of ever more extreme measures, as noted in the minutes of its last meeting, released Tuesday. [. . .]

Even top Obama officials concede the unemployment rate could climb higher still.

The main conclusions to take from this data are, first, the total inaccuracy of the claim that Obama has almost created more jobs than Bush did and, perhaps more importantly, that the 21st century has so far not been a good one for the private sector.

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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