Here’s another look at job creation, this one via WSJ’s Real Time Economics:

Presidential Employment Gains

click for interactive graphic

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Source:
Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record
WSJ Real Time Economics, January 9, 2009, 12:04 pm

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/09/bush-on-jobs-the-worst-track-record-on-record/

See also:

One Bush Legacy Worth Touting: Productivity

WSJ Real Time Economics, January 12, 2009, 3:08 pm

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/12/one-bush-legacy-worth-touting-productivity/

Category: Economy, Employment, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

45 Responses to “From Truman to Bush: Presidential Employment Gains”

  1. I’d like to see one more column which shows how many were government jobs.

  2. albnyc says:

    Not to defend the Shrub, but this is a meaningless metric. Presidents don’t create jobs. Bush began and ended his terms in recessionary periods. Are we to blame those totally on him? Could he have done better? Of course, but so could we have all.

  3. Porsche87 says:

    Wow, Ike is a huge surprise, as the 50′s were considered such a golden era. Too bad Nixon was a crook, since the more I read about his accomplishments the more I respect his abilities (outside of being a crook, of course). But Bush takes the cake in every way. Unless Faux News writes all the history books, I think he will go down as the worst in many categrories..

  4. Greg0658 says:

    Johnson and Carter were the only 2 that saw more job growth over population growth.
    And Johnson had the Vietnam War that reduced population by roughly 47K (from Wiki) … course there could be the reverse effect of “make up for lost time & hop in the hay”

  5. Winston Munn says:

    Gross job creation is meaningless. The more important metric is wealth diversification – how many good jobs were created versus good jobs destroyed?

    We all recognize that in a healthy economy that: supply=demand – supply being created by productivy gains and demand being suppled by real wages. From Reagan forward, that equation has been skewed. The bounty of productivity gains has been realigned to swell corporate coffers and the personal treasuries of the rich. Real wages, i.e., demand, has lagged. When productivity gains do not produce real wage gains, we end up with a different equation:

    supply>demand

    How do you then balance the equation? By using The Greenspan Method: cheap debt.

    New Debt=supply-demand. Or: supply=demand+new debt

    An artificial demand is created by offering cheap debt. But the key word is “artificial”. Debt appears to balance the equation but doesn’t in reality. It is fairy dust, an illusion. It only works until it cannot work any longer. When the solvency point is reached and no new debt is available then as with any equation, what happens on one side must be recreated on the other: supply-debt>demand+debt-debt.

    We once again reach: supply>demand

    With massive overcapacity brought about by massive overutilization of debt, there are only two solutions: massive reorganization of capacity to match demand – deflation, or massive increases in real wages.

    There is no third choice.

  6. Mannwich says:

    U.S. Worker Safety Net = Cheap Credit. Without it, the economy as we knew it is done for………

  7. Tom K says:

    Presidents create jobs? Who’d thunk it?

    These statistics are utterly meaningless except in the minds of simpletons.

    Hell, I thought everyone knew job creation is the result of what division wins the Super Bowl and the length of hemlines. Sheesh!

  8. GloomBoom says:

    The government is not the job creator. It is a rather bizarre notion that should be more at home in Europe where the government is 50% or more of the economy.

  9. Whammer says:

    Golly Tom K, you are right. Everyone knows that jobs can only be created by having low marginal tax rates on the highest incomes!! Those people create jobs, and if they are taxed, they won’t do it!!!

    Except, um, it’s pretty clear that you can’t draw that conclusion from the above.

    Well, heck, then I think jobs are created in minimal regulatory climates!! Woo Hoo!!

    Except, um, the data don’t support that.

    I think it is fair to disagree with the “Presidents create jobs” phrase. However, Presidents tend to drive certain economic agendas while they are in office, and we can evaluate the success or failure of those agendas in terms of jobs. That being said, I agree with Winston Munn above, it depends on the kinds of jobs. We should evaluate in terms of wage gains.

  10. sinomania says:

    @Brisky Capital

    According to the Fedweek.com website, fed employment grew by 120,000 from 2000-2008.

    Over 100,000 have been employed by TSA alone but I think the total TSA workforce is smaller now.

  11. sinful mistress says:

    “These numbers are meaningless”, “presidents don’t create jobs”, blah, blah, blah. Then look at the data as periods in time rather than blaming/crediting whomever was at the helm.

    By the way, who gets the credit for taking down the Titanic…the iceberg, or the guy who gave the order “full steam ahead, this ship is unsinkable”. Consider me a simpleton, I’ll save you the trouble of ad hominem.

  12. larster says:

    Isn’t the point that Bush uses his “52 months of job growth” as a success story? The real story is simply more Rove BS spin job.

  13. sinful mistress says:

    Another thing that the tech heads needs to remember, each one of the employment numbers that get bandied about for trading purposes like sterile, innocuous data is an actual HUMAN BEING.

  14. willid3 says:

    while presidents don’t directly create jobs, they make policy that indirectly either make jobs more likely or not. and the facts evidently point to a conclusion which on the face of seems contradictory, but evidence shows that its not the tax rates or the regulatory environments that impact job creation. and the decline in real wages also supports the other data. maybe another column should have the average wage at the beginning of the the presidents term and at the end. and maybe the length of office would also help. but i am sure that it will be spun as not important. by those who want to ignore the data.

  15. “Then look at the data as periods in time rather than blaming/crediting whomever was at the helm. ”

    The very idea that there might be someone at the “helm” of job creation is the crux of the problem.

  16. ottovbvs says:

    albnyc Says:

    January 13th, 2009 at 12:30 pm
    Not to defend the Shrub, but this is a meaningless metric. Presidents don’t create jobs. Bush began and ended his terms in recessionary periods. Are we to blame those totally on him? Could he have done better? Of course, but so could we have all.

    Er…..presidential policies actually have a huge impact on job creation. Of course there are other influences but this whole notion that the president is not the single most potent individual when it comes to the economy is baloney. He appoints the fed chairman and all the guys who run the economic machine from the treasury sec to the chairman of the FCC. He sets fiscal policy, regulatory policy and has unique access to the bully pulpit. With due respect this is total nonsense.

  17. ottovbvs says:

    willid3 Says:

    January 13th, 2009 at 3:35 pm
    while presidents don’t directly create jobs, they make policy that indirectly either make jobs more likely or not. and the facts evidently point to a conclusion which on the face of seems contradictory, but evidence shows that its not the tax rates or the regulatory environments that impact job creation. and the decline in real wages also supports the other data. maybe another column should have the average wage at the beginning of the the presidents term and at the end. and maybe the length of office would also help. but i am sure that it will be spun as not important. by those who want to ignore the data.

    If you take a look at yesterday’s WAPO they had this chart and a lot of others showing disposable income and a load of other stuff going back to Truman. Bush was worst in every category.

  18. ottovbvs says:

    Porsche87 Says:

    January 13th, 2009 at 12:36 pm
    Wow, Ike is a huge surprise, as the 50’s were considered such a golden era. Too bad Nixon was a crook, since the more I read about his accomplishments the more I respect his abilities (outside of being a crook, of course)

    Well I respect Bernie Madoff’s abilities but….

    That said Nixon has left a permanent mark with the opening up of China. Eisenhower’s was the Interstate system. Along with TR (trust busting, worker protections and national parks) they are probably the three Republican presidents who left the biggest permanent mark on the country in the past 100 years . I know conservatives love Reagan but while he had a succesful presidency his long term impact was pretty marginal. Sorry he didn’t win the cold war, technically George Bush senior did, but it was really the result of a hugely long 45 year long effort which cost an immense amount of money. And of course the in built contradictions of communism. I visited the Soviet Union several times in the late seventies visiting factories etc. and it was obvious this was a society teetering on the edge – although it seemed to have escaped the notice of the CIA but then they had a vested interest in hiding the truth.

  19. Broken says:

    Every Dem had payroll grow faster than population. Every Repub had payroll growth slower than population except Nixon and Reagan (assuming Truman’s pop growth was similar to Eisenhower’s). Of course, Nixon was so far to the left of current-day Repubs you might as well consider him a Dem too.

  20. ottovbvs says:

    Broken Says:

    January 13th, 2009 at 4:41 pm
    Every Dem had payroll grow faster than population. Every Repub had payroll growth slower than population except Nixon and Reagan (assuming Truman’s pop growth was similar to Eisenhower’s). Of course, Nixon was so far to the left of current-day Repubs you might as well consider him a Dem too.

    I’m speaking from memory but Truman’s numbers were fairly stellar too because at the end of the war there was a sharp dip in employment and then a huge expansion of auto manufacturing, construction etc.

    Nixon was so far to the left of current-day Repubs you might as well consider him a Dem too.

    You could say the same of TR and Eisenhower. I seem to remember during the campaign when McCain was claiming TR as a role model some pundits were saying TR wasn’t remotely conservative.

  21. Jdamon33 says:

    Quick someone name one thing Slick Willy did to create the 23.1m jobs he is being credited for as being created under his watch.

    I just want one……

  22. Mannwich says:

    @jdmamon33: He raised taxes on top earners and balanced the budget. I’m not a big Clinton-backer but by my count, that’s TWO.

  23. Broken says:

    “Slick Willy” also ran the Fed government competently. Which matters, since the government is ,by far, the largest corporation in the country.

  24. rh42 says:

    you really cant look at population growth for Ike- I mean- all that growth was due to babies (baby boom)

  25. Broken says:

    True.

    If you use Kennedy’s annual population growth rate instead, Eisenhower’s total population growth would be 9.8% instead of 12.8%. His payroll growth rate (7%) still comes in lower than his population growth rate.

  26. Mannwich says:

    @Broken: That’s THREE, by my count. Need anymore, JDamon33?

  27. MaxLdaMan says:

    On the whole, the Democrats have done better. On the whole, the stock market has outperformed under the Democrats. How have the Republicans become known as the business party? Why can the Democrats not play on their track record? Is the collective memory that short?

  28. Tom K says:

    @Mannwich – It seems you’ve been fully indoctrinated by the MSM’s revisionist history.

    Clinton cut military personnel from 2.1 million to 1.6 million. Of the 305,000 employees removed from the federal payroll during the Clinton years, 286,000 (or 90%) were military cuts. Thanks for the half trillion dollar peace dividend Mr. Reagan!

    And have you forgotten the revolution of ’94, the Republican take over of congress led by a group of fiscal hawks? Do you really think the fiscal discipline of the late ’90s was all attributable to Clinton?

    Lastly, Clinton raised taxes in 1993 when economic growth was already underway and gaining steam. What most people forget is the roaring growth in the economy began in 1997 after the Republican congress pressured Clinton to cut the top capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent and pass a $500 child tax credit.

  29. Mannwich says:

    @Tom K: Not at all. I’ve said in the past in prior posts on this blog that George H.W. Bush doesn’t get enough credit for getting us out of the recession and raising taxes when he had to (it was largely responsible for him not getting re-elected).

    I listen to nothing the MSM has to say or write anymore (in fact, I rarely read or watch them these days). All I’m saying for all Clinton’s foibles and shortcomings (and the are MANY, I’m not his biggest fan), he was a FAR better president than Shrub on the economy and just about everything else. We didn’t see anywhere near the incompetence and corruption in his administration that we saw with Bush. Just a few blow jobs in the WH. Those are the facts. That’s not saying much, since Bush is by far the worst president this country has ever had, but to say that the president has NO CONTROL over anything in the economy is merely letting Shrub off the hook for being so utterly inept at that and everything else that he touched in his 8 year reign of error. So, please spare me, unless you’re hanging with the dregs who still think Shrub did a great job as president.

  30. John Bishop says:

    Why did employment grow so rapidly during the Carter years? Only LBJ and the stimulus provided by Vietnam and Great Society programs bettered Carter’s record. When Carter took office 19 months after the trough of the 1974-75 recession, the recovery was slowing. Private employment had grown only 3.4 % in the previous 12 months. Then from January 1977 to January 1979 growth accelerated and the share of the population working rose from 57 to 59.9 percent. Private employment rose 11.1 percent, a 2 year growth rate that has not been exceeded since. Only entry into World War 2 and Korea and demobilization after WW2 have generated larger 24 month rates of private job growth.
    Why did employment and employment-population ratios grow so rapidly? Credit was costly—home mortgage and Baa corporate bond interest rates were at 9 percent. Fiscal policy was restrained. The CRS estimates that the standardized federal deficit for 1977 and 1978 was under 1.5 percent of GDP–less than a third of the size reached during the middle of the 1980s when marginal tax rates were lower and employment was growing more slowly. Why did the private sector add 3.4 million jobs during 1977 and 3.9 million jobs in 1978 but only 2.1 million jobs in 1976 and 1.7 million jobs in 1979.?
    The primary reason is the temporary New Jobs Tax Credit (NJTC) which offered firms generous subsidies for expanding employment in 1977 and 1978 but not in 1976 or 1979. During those two years, NJTC reduced the marginal cost of employing additional non-supervisory workers earning the mean weekly wage by 21 percent. The cost of hiring additional part time workers and minimum wage workers was reduced by more than 40 percent.
    The NJTC also changed the composition of employment. Part time jobs were more heavily subsidized and they indeed grew more rapidly than full time jobs. Industries not eligible for the NJTC—government and private colleges and universities– grew at significantly lower rates during 1977 and 1978. A limitation of $100,000 on the amount of the credit any one firm could receive reduced its incentive effects for very large firms. And indeed, growth rates in 1977 and 1978 were lower in industries dominated by large firms–6.6 percent for utilities and 8 percent for manufacturing. Growth was particularly rapid in industries with many small firms: 18 percent in construction, 10.9 percent in retail trade, 10.8 percent in professional and business services and 11.2 percent in physicians offices.

  31. Broken says:

    Democrat admins have a definite statistical edge in employment, GDP, and stock market growth. As Barry has pointed out, we are only talking about 11 data points here. However, you can add FDR and Hoover and the trend is even greater.

    Why so? Statistical fluke or governmental philosophy?

    Borrowing from Darwin, is an economy best treated as an ecology or an organism? Or both?

  32. Jdamon33 says:

    Mannwich, so it appears from reading this blog (which is definitely left leaning btw) is that all a POTUS needs to do is raise taxes on “wealthy” and they will have job and economic growth. Wish it was that simple.

    No one, I mean no one talks about the boom in technology leading up to Y2K as THE primary grower of jobs, not to mention the absolute take-off of the internet in the mid-90′s. You are going to sit back and tell me it was all Clinton’s efforts that led to this business cycle, one off boom (shoot, I keep forgoting Gore invented that darn thing….).

    Balancing the budget is much easier as you are slashing defense (hence 9/11) and receipts from captial gains are coming into the treasury hand-over-fist.

    As Tom K. stated, having the ’94 congress in place defintely helped Clinton’s economic performance (pro-growth, lower cap. gains taxes).

    So, for the two items you listed, I will have to take exception. Running the government competently is a pretty subjective item, so I will leave that one off as well. Again, name one SPECIFIC thing Clinton did to create the job growth seen during his tenure.

  33. Greg0658 says:

    The Gold Clinton Years
    I agree on Y2K – the www take’g off – the Enron types doing what they did
    and we had a small war – Kosovo via Slobodan Milošević (small wars help gdp – big wars hurt)
    but I’m sticking with the factory buildup in China with WalMart* being a huge beneficiary

  34. Whammer says:

    @jdamon33 — if you’re arguing that slashing defense led to 9/11, then there is no point having a discussion with you about anything.

  35. Mannwich says:

    @jdamon33: As most obtuse people are inclined to do, I think you misunderstand me – Clinton showed strong leadership by making hard choices and putting COMPETENT people in key positions of government. Those things actually DO effect the economy, in my mind. To ignore these things is to remain mired in denial about the Bush years. Wake the f$ck up, please.

  36. Jdamon33 says:

    Competent people like Bob Rubin????

  37. Mannwich says:

    @jdamon33: Point taken. Clinton’s mistakes still pale in comparison with Bush’s, although the repeal of Glass-Steagall was an enormous blunder and a big contributor to the mess we have today. I will admit that. There were/are many architects of this mess. Let’s just leave it at that. Many of our so-called leaders everywhere have failed this country in a big way.

  38. steveeboy says:

    who cares about american jobs?

    the iraqis now have christmas as a holiday!

  39. jmay says:

    Hey Barry — post the song I wrote — it’s getting to be that magical time!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tFW4jGKnOM

  40. TruthTeller says:

    You have confrimed that Bill Clinton created the largest JOBS BUBBLE in American history!

    Now, if you only provided the analysis of the political and economic policies that caused this massive, unsustainable job inflation.

  41. ottovbvs says:

    Jdamon33 Says:

    January 14th, 2009 at 6:34 am
    Mannwich, so it appears from reading this blog (which is definitely left leaning btw) is that all a POTUS needs to do is raise taxes on “wealthy” and they will have job and economic growth. Wish it was that simple.

    No one, I mean no one talks about the boom in technology leading up to Y2K as THE primary grower of jobs, not to mention the absolute take-off of the internet in the mid-90’s. You are going to sit back and tell me it was all Clinton’s efforts that led to this business cycle, one off boom (shoot, I keep forgoting Gore invented that darn thing….).

    Well as a matter of fact I do. Obviously the take off of the PC revolution was a, if not the, major contributor to the huge increases in jobs and productivity that occurred when Clinton was president. To that extent he was lucky but that’s life. That doesn’t mean the economic and fiscal policies he pursued were not also important as well in securing the huge increases in jobs and national wealth . And slashing the defence budget was a good move, GHWB was doing the same thing before him, remember the peace dividend. Our defense budget is ludicrous. You have to ask yourself how long does it make sense for a country with about 20% of the world’s GDP and 4.5% of its population, to be incurring about 53% of it military expenditures. The facts speak for themselves Clinton’s record was stellar and Bush’s has been abysmal. You may not like that because it clearly doesn’t fit with what seems a fairly rigid set of partisan views eg. the Gore crack and the simplistic tax theory, but it’s reality. I also don’t think this is a particularly left leaning site either, there seems a good mix of views most of them fairly pragmatic and fact based. We even disagree with BR occasionally!

  42. ottovbvs says:

    TruthTeller Says:

    January 14th, 2009 at 12:16 pm
    You have confrimed that Bill Clinton created the largest JOBS BUBBLE in American history!

    How was it a bubble. Most of the jobs created in the Clinton era are still there because of the overall growth in the size of the economy particularly technology jobs. The bubble jobs disappearing are mainly in real estate, construction, financial service, retail, and manufacturing of course which is basically a structural problem which little or nothing has been done to address over the last eight years.

  43. Tom K says:

    “Most of the jobs created in the Clinton era are still there because of the overall growth in the size of the economy particularly technology jobs”

    Are you kidding? I’ve worked in the interactive marketing industry since ’94 and can tell you that statement is flat out false. The job blood-letting over 2000-2002 hammered technology workers.

    Btw, speaking of the creation of good paying jobs (under Clinton), the internet industry was in a hiring war during the late ’90s. Mediocre HTML coders were being called developers and being paid ridiculously high incomes relative to their skill level. That also goes for “web designers”. Most of these people couldn’t design their way out of a paper bag but because they knew the basics of HTML and Photoshop they were hired en masse.

  44. me says:

    @Jdamon33
    “Quick someone name one thing Slick Willy did to create the 23.1m jobs he is being credited for as being created under his watch.”

    Well, for one, I got a damn good job in IT. That lasted about as long as 2001 (B4 911) for IBM to send that job to India. Since 2001, if you would do a little research you would find that since 2001 772,000 jobs have been lost in IT and replaced with nothing. And, there were 2,6 million jobs LOST, NFP, so 1/3 were IT.

    Now go listen to Bill Gates and Sam Palmisanno and the like whine that no one is studying IT. I wonder why?

    Isn’t it ironic that the two elite Bushes have the worst record.

  45. David in D says:

    The comments on this post are very revealing about the readership of this blog. A couple of observations:

    1. Despite evidence presented to the contrary, most people (including the majority of the posters above) will still remain committed to their interpretation of reality. You see this so clearly in comments like “Presidents don’t have anything to do with job creation…” Could we just look at the data and allow it to challenge our presuppositions?

    2. It seems to me, that the majority of posters above are committed to the rhetoric of the post-Reagan Republican party. When the rhetoric is compared with actual data, the mythology falls apart.

    I’m sure the “majority” I referring to here will dismiss this post just as they dismissed the table, but recent history seems to reflect favorably on the Presidents who are Democrats. Like it or not, that’s what the data shows.

    Now go about telling me why I’m wrong… Thank God Obama is in and W is out…