As you can no doubt see, this graph posted by New York Times blogger and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman compares private sector job gains under former President George W. Bush with the gains made under current President Barack Obama, and the numbers favor Obama pretty dramatically.
Of course, what the graph shows what should have been obvious to anyone paying attention. Private sector job growth has been significantly better under Obama than it was under Bush for a long, long time now. While Republicans love to talk about Obama’s “jobs-killing” policies and programs, those policies have actually fostered much better employment growth than what Obama’s Republican predecessor was able to achieve.
And that’s really something when you stop to consider the state of the economy when Obama took office. The United States was still reeling from the financial crisis when he was inaugurated (you can see that as the sharp descent toward the end of the red line representing Bush’s tenure), and the first order of business was to simply get the economy stabilized. Obama was able to get a stimulus package passed to give the economy a boost by injecting some money into it, and while insisting the stimulus didn’t work is practically part of the GOP gospel now, history seems to show that it was exactly what the economy needed.
It took about a year under Obama for things to start turning around, but, as the graph shows, private sector job creation has steadily improved ever since.
Even with the catastrophe Obama inherited, the economy matched the best period of private sector job gains under Bush (around 4 million jobs) during the first year of Obama’s second term. By the end of Obama’s second year in that term, the economy had added nearly 8 million jobs, which doubled Bush’s high-water mark.
As of today, the economy has added more than 9 million private sector jobs under Obama, and the recovery is still going strong. The Labor Department just reported than the economy added 271,000 jobs in October alone.
Even the titans of industry who largely fund GOP election campaigns have to be pleased on some level, as corporate profits have also been much stronger under Obama than they were under Bush. All things considered, it’s now clear that Obama has been a much better president than Bush was, at least as far as managing the economy goes.
This fact continues to push against the conventional wisdom that Republicans are better for the economy. In fact, recent history has seemed to debunk that notion entirely, particularly when you consider that former President Bill Clinton remains the top jobs-creating president in the last 40 years or so. If the current pace of private sector job creation continues, Obama will likely join Clinton as the only president in that time period (which includes former President Ronald Reagan) to oversee an economy that added more than 10 million private sector jobs during a single term. Clinton accomplished that feat in both of his terms, and perhaps Obama might have as well if not for the fact that he had to clean up the mess left by his predecessor.
Perhaps that is something to keep in mind as the 2016 elections approach. The GOP contenders will no doubt continue to boast about their intellectually-bankrupt plans to end Obama’s “jobs-killing” policies, but the numbers are telling a different story about those policies. The conventional wisdom needs to be updated. For private sector job creation, maintaining Obama’s policies by electing another Democrat is probably the smartest thing American can do.