Sunday, July 8, 2012

Now that's a first-term job disaster

Saw that lame jobs report come out on Friday, with only 80,000 seasonally-adjusted jobs added in June, and a tepid average of 75,000 a month since March. It looks like Obama's job-creating record isn't up to snuff, and that lack of performance is probably a good reason to get rid of him. I mean, look at this chart of job losses. We're not even close to coming back.

Yep unacceptable disaster, Obama isn't going to make it. Whoops, hold on a second, something doesn't look right. Let me check the data again.

I apologize. That graph is actually the performance of GEORGE BUSH'S FIRST TERM, including the 6 months before he took office. The start of Dubya's tenure is marked by the 0.00% number, and it runs until June 2004. As you can see, at this point 8 years ago, private sector employment was down 1.6% in the 41 months that Bush had been in office, or nearly 1.8 million jobs lost since January 2001. The only thing keeping the economy from complete disaster was the 766,000 government jobs that had been added in the same time, lowering total job losses to just over 1 million.

OK, let's look at Obama's first 41 months (including the last 3 months of weak job gains), then compare them with Bush, and see how it measures up. As before, 0.00% marks the start of each president's term.

That's right, Obama now leads Bush at the same point in his first term, and not by a little. This is even more remarkable when you see how things were bottoming out when Obama took office, with 3.5 million jobs wiped out in the last 6 months of the Bush years, and 3.4 million gone in Obama's first 6 months. The bottoming out of the Obama losses were in February 2010, right around the time that Census hiring started to kick in, and stimulus projects began to get cranked up full-force (lots of stimulus funding was passed down to states and localities, who had to bid up and prepare projects, which takes a few months to do).

And the Obama jobs numbers show this acceleration in momentum, unlike the Bush years, where it took until Bush's 3rd year in office for jobs to be gained (in no small part due to war spending and an unsustainable housing bubble). I'm going to use the Wisconsin fiscal year of July to June to illustrate, starting in the July before both Bush and Obama were elected, and then going to now, which makes for a 4-year sample size, and also gives each president a pass for their first 5 months of office.

Job change, July-June, Bush and Obama
Year "before" office-
Bush +0.16% total, -0.04% private
Obama -4.77% total, -5.93% private

Year 1 of office
Bush -1.27% total, -1.88% private
Obama -0.37% total, -0.60% private

Year 2 of office
Bush -0.41% total, -0.54% private
Obama +0.99% total, +1.79% private

Year 3 of office
Bush +1.23% total, +1.48% private
Obama +1.35% total, +1.78% private

Yep, that's correct. Obama has beaten Bush's record in jobs for each of the 3 years following each president's first 6 months in office. This is despite the disaster that Obama was handed from the year before he took over, and despite sizable cutbacks in public sector employment (compared to "small government" Bush, who had public employment go up in his first 3 years).

And for those of you who think the last 3 months might be a harbinger of the economy starting to stall out? Let me remind you what things looked like this time last year, and what happened right after the 2nd Quarter.

Avg. monthly job change around Q2 2011, 2012
3 mos. before 2Q- 2011- +192K total, +212K private. 2012 +226K total, +226K private
2Q job change- 2011- +130K total, +158K private. 2012 +75K total, +91K private
6 mos. after 2Q- 2011- +146K total, +166K private.

And those 6 months after includes a couple of rough months in Summer 2011 that were a result of Tea Bagger Congress members trying to screw the country up around the debt ceiling. Once that silliness was resolved in August, the U.S. average gains jumped to over 200,000 jobs for the next 6 months.

Don't be surprised if that history repeats, especially when you see that Congress finally passed a 2-year transportation bill at the end of June after months of delays. Let's see if having known quantities for needed infrastructure and keeping student loan rates low helps to give a bit of a boost to the economy (assuming people don't melt from the heat).

But don't count on the media to tell this truth. They need Obama vs. Romney to be a close, high-spending horse race to keep viewers watching. Since Romney's best chance to win is to have a down economy (even then it may not be enough, look at Bush's first-term), watch for the media and GOP spinmeisters to talk down the still-recovering economy, and try to diminish any good news that might result when the economy springs back to life, much as it did in the last half of 2011.

It's up to us to keep these charts and information handy, and hammer down the many lies we are sure to hear from the right in the next 4 months. Obama was given a garbage hand to work with, and has turned it into something acceptable, unlike George Bush, who lost jobs and could not drag those numbers back in his first three years.

No comments:

Post a Comment