We now have the final employment figures that both sides can use down the home stretch of the campaign. The Bush campaign can truthfully state that 1.71 million new jobs have been created in the last year (or 1.78 million new jobs since August 2003).
But when hearing such numbers, always remember to apply context: it remains true the Bush’s best year of job creation can’t measure up to Clinton’s worst year.
For their part, the Kerry campaign can truthfully assert that the US economy currently has lost a net of 821,000 total jobs since Bush was inaugurated, and 1.63 million private-sector jobs. (Yes, the Bush economy has been pretty good at creating more government jobs.)
The current recovery continues to set records for poor job creation. Incorporating today’s new data, the following graph shows the total number of private-sector jobs during the current recession and recovery, and compares it to the last recession and recovery in 1990-94 – a recovery that was often called the “jobless recovery”. (Interesting how in some cases it takes a decade for irony to become apparent.)
(Note: Employment during each period is expressed as an index, with the employment level of 6 months before the official start of the recession set to be 100. So the graph starts 6 months before each recession started.)
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Bush was not responsible for the recession, in my opinion. However, he is a least somewhat responsible for the type of economic recovery we’ve had. Good economic policies would have led to good job creation over the past two years. But Bush’s sole and repetitive economic policy idea of cutting taxes, primarily on wealthy individuals, obviously does not fit that criterion.