The Cost of Jobs: Job Growth Under Obama – Steve Rattner’s Charts

by gradycarter

Chart – Job Growth Under Obama.

I think that a lot of my conservative friends think that I’m completely in the tank for President Obama, and this is actually one of the areas where I’m most likely to get discouraged in talking politics and policy, because I’m actually not. I support the President as our commander and chief, but I do question his policies. I’m not 100% sure that they are working, but when I hear someone say that they aren’t, and I don’t know that to be true it makes me feel like by questioning them that I’m put in the category of “one who disagrees, and is there for with Obama”. I feel like they are forcing me to to be on a team that I’m still just thinking about being on… So, I feel that it’s time to inject some numbers, and therefore I think it’s time to look at a few charts – and whose charts would be better at a time like this than Steve Rattner’s Charts? Nobody that I can think of, so here we go.

  • Job Growth Under Obama: the argument that he has made the economy worse doesn’t seem true from all of the information that I gather. Unless if this is actually inaccurate I think it’s pretty obvious that the trend has gone towards higher employment. However, it is only fair to recognize the conservative rebuttal to this argument, which is that people have just stopped looking for jobs, which takes them out of the equation to measure Unemployment. But if we are to assume that this chart is relatively accurate then the argument against the President cannot be that he made things worse (as Mitt Romney has said so often), but just that he hasn’t made things as good as they should be by this point in time.

(To understand further how I feel about that last part feel free to click Here to see a comparison for the Reagan recovery versus the Obama recovery.)

Remember to look at where the X and Y axis to actually contextualize what this chart means

  • Private VS Public Job Growth: The debate between public vs. private jobs has really grown over the last couple of years, and not only have these numbers been up for debate, but for a lot of people there has arisen a war between the public and private sectors due to multiple factors (ie: pensions, and collective bargaining for unions public or private).

I have heard people debate over the job numbers a lot, but the most heated debates have seemed to come about the differential between private and public numbers.

Now that Bill Clinton has thrown down the gauntlet on Job Creation by party the debate over this chart is likely to become more and more pertinent over the coming years.

  • Job Growth Under the Last 4 Presidents: Again, these numbers will be debated, but this chart none the less should be in our discussion about where we go from here.

How much is enough to say that President Obama did a good enough job? That’s the big question, and it hinges on people’s understanding/beliefs of economic recovery, and how that relates to Keynsian Economics.

It might be unfair to always compare the simple numbers of job creation from President to President, but this is something that we should at least be somewhat aware of. I mean, it wouldn’t be fair to say that Clinton was just the best (he did strike gold in terms of being elected economic growth due to the internet boom), and that Bush II was just the worst (he was dealing with the bust of the internet phenomenon, and the aftermath of 9-11). In the same way we have Got to take into account what this President walked into, and it is not pandering to say so. Attempting to put any of our Presidents into a box as if they had the same experience as any previous President is not fair, and it’s distracting. As Bill Maher loves to say, there’s nuance in everything… The world is complicated. This is a semi-defense of both President Bush II & President Obama, to a degree, but there is still plenty of room to debate policies and their effects. I personally don’t understand why we’re having the debate about whether or not Obama has created jobs, as it seem apparent to me that the trends have been positive in his first term (as I don’t believe that the numbers are merely good because people’ve stopped looking for jobs). The question should be whether or not they were worth they debt that they cost us to bailout and stimulate the economy. I think that if conservatives would focus their attention on the question of cost-effectiveness they might actually gain some ground with moderates (assuming they can prove that the tax payers money would’ve been better used somewhere else).

In summation of the title of this post, we need to be looking at the economy as if we were all members of the board of our American Economy. If the money that we spent didn’t produce in the way that we think it should’ve then we might have to let Obama go, but let’s make sure that we have that conversation. I think that the job creation figure is important, but in terms of getting re-elected I think that, as Steve Rattner has pointed out before, Income Growth is more closely tied to re-electing a President, and in that case things are looking somewhat glum for President Obama…


This next chart explains the importance of income growth for a President’s re-election chances. If you’d like to see charts about Presidential re-election campaigns and how they have been related to economics Click Here.

This chart was very interesting as it says that historically the most telling economic indicator of a Presidential re-election is Income Growth. Steve stated that it seems to be the most telling of all of the economic indicators about elections, and it was actually looks glum for President Obama (he is where the Red and Green lines meet).

OK, with the charts out of the way I would say that it’s a good time to share the Bill Clinton speech from the DNC. Outside of the bounds of ideology, this speech was politically untouchable by anything I’ve heard recently… Feel free to let me know what you think about it, and if you’d like to see some of the greatest quotes compiled here (Polentical), which is a great post that was put together by probably my favorite small-time blogger that I follow regularly.

Thanks for reading/listening:

NOTE: The charts used above were sourced from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times