More Jobs Might Be Created In 2010 than During George W. Bush's Entire Presidency?

The National Journal's, Ronald Brownstein, explains why Obama might create more jobs this year than in all 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.

First, the numbers: From February 2001, Bush's first full month in office, through January 2009, his last, total U.S. nonfarm employment grew from 132.5 million to 133.5 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's an increase, obviously, of just 1 million. From January through April of this year, the economy created 573,000 jobs. Over a full year, that projects to 1.72 million jobs. Job-creation numbers are notoriously volatile, so the actual result could run above or below that estimate. But Obama administration economists are increasingly optimistic that job growth this year will exceed expectations. Few of them will be surprised if more jobs are created in 2010 than over Bush's two terms.

Now the principal footnote: To compare job growth in 2010 with Bush's record ignores the nearly 4 million jobs lost in Obama's first year, during the freefall that began in Bush's final months. That's like ignoring a meteor strike. Over time, voters are likely to judge Obama by his degree of success in eliminating that deficit and reducing unemployment. Still, if the economy this year produces more than 1 million jobs -- or, conceivably, more than 2 million -- that will give Democrats more ammunition to argue that their agenda has started to turn the tide.

The real point of looking again at Bush's record is to underscore how few jobs the economy was creating even before the 2008 collapse. Bush's tally of 1 million jobs was much less than the economy had generated during any other two-term stretch since World War II: Dwight Eisenhower produced nearly 4 million, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (together) almost 16 million, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (together) 11 million, Ronald Reagan 16 million, and Bill Clinton more than 22 million.


This is what the job loss/growth chart looks like just from the last 2 years of President Bush's Presidency and the first 12 months of Obama's. Browstein's theory is far from impossible. This chart also doesn't include the 300,000 jobs created in April and 162,000 in March .

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