The Republican Lie That ‘Obama Is A Job Killer’ In One Chart

Follow-up – February 3, 2012: Strong January 2012 Jobs Report Belies Republican Narrative

The GOP talking point that ‘Obama is a job killer” is debunked in just one chart. President Obama took office in January 2009 when the ‘great recession’ was at it’s deepest. Up to that point millions of jobs had already been lost to the recession and in that month alone over 800,000 jobs were lost. In the following months many millions of additional jobs were lost. Certainly there is a point where we begin to direct blame for the economy towards Obama and away from Bush but it’s foolish at best to blame Obama for the millions of jobs lost within the first few months of his presidency when millions of jobs had already been shed leading up to the oath of office.

The 2009 stimulus bill was signed into law in February of that year and you can see in the chart that job losses begin to recede quite rapidly in the following months until finally positive job growth begins a year later in March 2010. It could be argued that positive job growth really didn’t take shape until October of 2010 because much of the job growth (and then losses) from March 2010 to September 2010 was due to the temporary hiring related to the 2010 census.

Each month from October 2010 until November 2011 (and now December 2011) has seen job growth. Out of the 35 full months (including December 2011 – not shown in the chart above) Obama has been in office, 18 months (again, including December 2011 – 200,000 jobs created) have seen job growth. More important is the trend. There is no reason to believe we won’t see continued job growth through all of 2012 which will only improve Obama’s creation-to-loss ratio.

It is true that there is still a net jobs loss during Obama’s first 35 months and that the unemployment rate is still higher now compared to when he took office but as you can see from the chart that is mostly due to the first year of his presidency which could hardly be blamed on his economic policies. The naysayers apparently would like us to believe the economy should create a few million jobs in just a month or two and if it doesn’t than Obama has failed. It doesn’t work that way. If you dig a deep hole it’s going to take a while to crawl out of it.

One thing the naysayers can’t ignore is that the longer we go into Obama’s presidency the better the jobs picture looks, which serves to reinforce that his policies have had a positive effect on the economy and jobs. It also serves to further debunk the Republican talking points of the ‘stimulus failed’ and ‘Obama is a job killer’.


Chart by Jon Terbush – Business Insider

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#2010 census#Bush#economy#job creation#job killer#jobs#Obama#President Bush#President Obama#stimulus#unemployment

  • Karl

    This is the wrong chart, because it shows massive temporary hiring for the 2010 census and then the layoffs as those jobs ended. Better is the monthly private sector jobs reports, which filters out all government hiring/layoffs and focuses on the strength of the private economy. A compromise is the graphic I saw in a CBO report which included government employment generally, but filtered out the census hiring/layoffs. In both of the graphics I suggest, we have had jobs growth in EVERY month since March 2010.

  • Karl: I did point out the temporary census hiring in my article and I do agree that if the goal is to solely highlight private sector job growth, a chart containing only that metric would be best. What I like about this chart is that the unemployment rate is combined with job creation. The intention of this article is to layout the whole picture because honestly Obama could be held responsible for at least some of the public sector job losses (not talking about temporary census). But even with public sector losses included there has still been overall solid job growth since October 2010. There is no question a private-sector only chart would paint an even better picture but any way you slice it there has been solid job growth for well over a year, therefore the ‘Obama is a job killer’ narrative is bunk. Isn’t it strange that the Right says government can’t create jobs yet they also say Obama kills jobs? 🙂

  • Nice chart, but practically useless in and of itself, as it does not accurately show people who have lost unemployment insurance, been forced to retire, or have given up looking for work. (It does include them… but, only to make the widely-reported “U3” Unemployment Rate look better).

    How about including charts such as: Total Participation Rate, the “U6” Unemployment Rate, Social Security Disability Filings, Food Stamp Participation, etc.? We might see that many are not working who want to work, people who have found jobs are working harder for less and/or working multiple lower-paying, possibly seasonal jobs, and even then may have to ask for government assistance to get by in this stagnant economy.

    Thanks for reading!

    • The economy definitely is not rosey. However, the purpose of this chart is to convey that Obama is not a job killer with one simple illustration.

      The data you are talking about, if it could be aggregated into one chart item would certainly move the bars on the chart much lower on the Y axis, but that would be true for the “Bush” segment as well as the “Obama” segment.

      For the purpose of this article and the point I as trying to convey, this chart does the job.

  • LOL

  • Hilarious!  Obama bin Lyin’ again!  I’m sure the 26 million unemployed Americans struggling to survive Obama’s Depression will feel so much better.  Perhaps they can print this chart and eat it.  

    BTW – who gives a crap about the comparison to Bush? The last time I checked Bush wasn’t running for a third term.

    • I’d love for you to explain how this is Obama’s depression. It would only be slightly less silly to call it Bush’s depression (still silly nonetheless) but at least the economic downturn happened on Bush’s watch and not Obama’s. The reality is that no single person, including the President of the United States, is solely responsible for a bad economy. But since the media and the American public like simple, easy to digest narratives, we have statements like yours. As for the comparison to Bush, it’s necessary to combat these simple and inaccurate narratives, but apparently ineffective as your comment shows.

    • blondehare

      All my friends have jobs.. I do not know what you are talking about Jack.. Are you just on welfare and writing hate out of nothing else for you to do? Go find a job they are out there.

  • John_St_John

    One question I have concerning the jobs numbers is where does the loss of public sector employees come up in this graphic? News agencies keep focusing on the private sector job growth and all the while the public sector is being decimated. Law enforcement, E.M.S. county medical facilities, fire & rescue et al, in many locales across the United States are being reduced and/or eliminated to “balance” budgets, adding to the unemployment numbers.

    Then again the loss of the public sector jobs in many instances has been at the hands of G.O.P. controlled administrations. Which by caveat makes it even harder for the G.O.P. to lay the poor jobs numbers on President Obama’s shoulders. Just sayin’

    • This graph shows the net gain/loss of jobs so the public sector losses are part of the overall net positive job growth numbers. I don’t have exact numbers in front of me, but let’s say April 2011 had 220,000 net jobs gained. That “could” have been 250,000 private sector gains and 30,000 public sector losses.

      So yes, your point is very important. We are STILL shedding public sector jobs in this economy which is, well let’s just say it: STUPID. It makes no sense for government to shoot itself in the foot by laying people off who pay taxes and on top of that, now they will be collecting unemployment. This is no way to run government, but this is what Republicans want. Instead of the 600,000+ public sector job losses since the start of the recession we would have millions of public sector job losses if Republicans had total control. We should have had NO public sector losses if we were serious about getting the economy going.

      • John_St_John

        Thank you for the reply David, you have clarified my question quite well. And I wholly agree with you that there should not have been any public sector jobs lost. Sadly the corporate apologists, i.e. Republicans, have no qualms about decimating our economy, infrastructure, nation to advance hyperbolic political messages that do nothing but harm folks and pad their puppet masters pockets.

        • In past recessions (of much less severity) we “invested” much more in the economy and the public sector to grow out of the recession. Some of this was done during the Great Recession but it was completely inadequate and public sector job losses is a huge black eye, and it’s something that is still contributing to the slow growth of the economy. Republicans want to do the exact opposite of what should be done. So far under Obama we’ve only done a “light” version of what we should be doing. I’m still waiting for an appropriate liberal policy response to the Great Recession.