Chart: Obama vs. Bush: Private Sector Job Growth (First 52 Months)

There is a lot of Republican right-wing misinformation about the state of the economy and private sector job growth. And breathtaking in their ineptitude are conservatives who believe President Obama is presiding over a net private sector job loss economy. This simply is untrue. I don’t say this because it’s my opinion, I say it because the data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows net private sector job growth since January 2009 of almost 2.6 million jobs. It’s not something that can be disputed because we have actual data and record keeping. It’s information that anybody can research, but it requires a lot less conjecture and a little more work, which might produce a result that would not comport to right-wing narratives.

I will not assert that the economy is strong, especially since the unemployment rate is still above 7%. But I thought it might be a useful exercise to chart cumulative private sector job growth over the first 52 months of both the Bush and Obama presidencies, a time which saw two recessions, including the “Great Recession” of 2007-2009. I will not attempt to quantify liberal vs. conservative economic philosophy. Instead, I simply want to present the raw data.

Below is a graph showing monthly cumulative private sector job creation (seasonally adjusted) for the first 52 months of each administration (the Obama administration recently closed it’s 52nd month). Red is for President Bush. Blue is for President Obama.

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source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

As you can see, by the 52nd month of the Bush presidency, the economy had not yet fully recovered the private sector jobs lost from the 2001 recession. In fact, by the end of Bush’s first term (48 months), there was still a deficit of over one million net private sector jobs.

In stark contrast, by the end of Obama’s first term, there was a surplus of over 1.7 million net private sector jobs, and by the 52nd month of the Obama presidency (April 2013), net private sector job growth stood at 2.582 million jobs. To reiterate for the Tea Party crowd — surplus: good — deficit: bad.

Remember, one standing narrative on the Right is that President Bush was given a raw deal by the so-called liberal media. Also remember another standing narrative on the Right, that President Obama is a socialist and his policies are destroying the economy. Well, if Obama is destroying the economy during his first 52 months, then what the hell was Bush doing during the same period of his presidency?

The truth is simple. President Obama has presided over more robust private sector job growth during his first 52 months compared to President Bush. This fact is even more acute when you remember that Obama inherited a much worse economy than Bush. President Obama had to overcome the “Great Recession” where Bush need only subjugate a normal cyclical recession.

Numbers don’t lie, but Republicans do.


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