I came across this graph today being touted by David Axlerod as proof positive that President Obama has produced a steady, consistent track record of job creation over the last twenty-two months. It also seems to compare favorably to Obama's predecessor, George Bush.
Let's take a look...
In this first graph, the one being spread around by the Obama camp, we see a graph that runs from December 2007 through December 2011...(Click on the chart to enlarge it...)
Clearly we can see how the graph begins to show a reduction in job losses within a few months of Obama taking office in January, 2009. Gross Job creation (I don't know if these are new jobs created or old jobs re-created. For my purposes here, I won't differentiate) kicks in around early Spring in 2010, which began the current streak of 22 months of job creation.
This chart provides us with only a year of the Bush Administration's performance. I wanted to see further back, prior to the dates in the above graph. Let's look at this chart which shows the bulk of the Bush tenure in the White House. The title of the chart is different from the previous chart but they're measuring the same thing...(Again, please click on the chart to enlarge it...)
A little more complete picture emerges, eh?
Yes, the Obama administration is growing jobs consistently, but the Bush administration had done so for roughly four years, from January 02 (reduction in jobs lost) to actual job growth through January 06. It's a little unfair to Mr. Bush to snag the worst of his numbers and compare to the rosiest of the Obama numbers.
Unemployment and job creation are pretty fluid metrics if we look at the bigger picture. Bush had two significant downturns during his eight years, and his period of growth didn't seem to gain back the losses fully. Obama walked into a terrible situation and while it looks better than it has for along time, we're still topping out at around two hundred thousand jobs per month. Which is less than the high end numbers Bush was able to realize between '04 and '06.
There's plenty to cherry pick to make either president look better or worse than they really deserve. I do think its a bit self-serving for the Obama camp to clip off most of Bush's healthier years. I know why they did it, but its still a bit weak.