Friday, April 29, 2011

60 Years Of Job Growth

Conservatives keep telling us that if we follow their polices, we'll see a lot of job growth. And a fiscal conservative friend of mine repeats the claim that tax cuts promote job growth,
"Just look at the unemployment figures during the middle years of the Bush II administration, that proves that tax cuts create jobs."
I was a bit perplexed, since my recollection is that during the Bush II administration, job growth didn't even keep up with growth of the work force. So I poked around.
"Really? What do actual job growth numbers show us?"

The source of statistics which seemed most applicable to my recollection came from the Wall Street Journal's article from January 2009: Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record

The chart here is based on the table in that WSJ article, and focuses on the average growth in payroll per year held in office for each president since Truman. Red bars are Republicans, blue bars are Democrats.

The chart sure seems to show that job growth is generally a lot higher during Democratic Party presidencies than during Republican Party presidencies. Comments are welcomed regarding this chart and its implications.

(The president's names might be a bit difficult to read: from left to right they are:
  • Bill Clinton
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Lyndon Johnson
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Richard Nixon
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Harry Truman
  • Gerald Ford
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • George W. Bush)
I don't know why unemployment was low during the middle years of the Bush admin, when job growth was the worst we've seen since World War II when job growth was the worst we've seen during that same period.

I'm thinking that during those years, many people entering the work force age range just didn't bother to even look for jobs. Unemployment is calculated on surveys and looks at the niumber of people who have sought work during the previous 4 weeks. If youngsters didn't even bother to start looking, then the unemployment calculation would simply exclude them.

Note, I also found statistics reportedly based on statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which seem to be at odds with the Wall Street Journal's tables. I cannot explain the differences, and decided to go with the WSJ since they could be presumed to portray these sorts of statistics in the light most favorable to conservative views.

Again, it seems to me that the chart above strongly suggests jobs grow more during Democratic Party presidencies than during Republican Party presidencies, but any additional enlightenment is welcome.

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