Employment Level Growth Under Obama Sets a Post-World War II Low

The most recent jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) contains some disheartening statistics, reflecting just why Obama’s campaign is so off kilter. As usual, the media have chosen to focus on the two items most familiar to the general public, the monthly jobs number and the unemployment rate. 

Left unmentioned in all the political crossfire is the post-World War II record the Obama administration is about to set on employment levels, and it isn’t a good one.

Each month, the BLS releases a host of extensive data on the health of the labor market. One of these is the “employment level” – or the total number employed in the United States over 16 years of age. A simple screen of the monthly employment level is available online, dating all the way back to 1948.

Sometimes, the 24 hour news cycle, flurry of economic reports, and political talking points tend to obscure true nature of the nation’s economic condition. In an effort to obtain a broader picture of how the President’s performance measures up to his post-World War II predecessors, I decided to measure monthly employment level growth for each presidential term dating back to Harry Truman. All numbers have been adjusted to percentages rather than raw numbers, to maintain objectivity.

The average monthly employment level increase under President Obama is a paltry 0.019% monthly increase, earning him last place. The average monthly percentage increase during a presidential term since 1949 is nearly 7 times that achieved in Obama’s first term. Even George W. Bush’s second term, with its recession and financial turmoil, experienced a monthly employment level increase 54% higher than President Obama.

Of course, with the population level rising at 0.899% yearly and an employment level rising just 0.228% yearly, a continuation of this lackluster growth spells economic disaster. In other worlds, the population is growing at nearly three times the rate of job creation! No post-World War II president has managed to achieve such dismal results. 

The chart below (and above) puts the numbers in proper perspective.


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