Last week on MSNBC, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said, “Over the past 27 months we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs. That’s more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery.” As the charts below show, this is simply false.
This first chart compares the net job losses of both the 2008/2009 recession and the 1981/182 recession and then the following job gains during the recoveries. As you can see, while the most recent recession saw more job losses, the Reagan recovery clearly had stronger job gains. Specifically, at the depth of the most recent recession in February 2010, the US economy supported 106.77 million private sector jobs. Twenty-nine months later, the economy now supports 111.31 jobs, a 4.54 million job gain, as Cutter noted. But the economy also supported 110.98 million jobs when Obama was inaugurated. So, since he was sworn into office, the economy has only gained 330,000 private sector jobs. And if you look at all jobs, not just private sector ones, Obama still is a net job destroyer. There were 133.56 million total jobs when he was inaugurated and there are just 133.24 total jobs today.
By contrast, in the first 29 months of the Reagan recovery, the private sector created 8.04 million jobs, jumping from 72.77 million private sector jobs in December 1982 to 80.81 million in May 1983. And when Reagan was inaugurated there were 74.67 million jobs, giving the Reagan recovery a 61.4 million private sector job gain. This second graph uses the same data to tell the story a little differently.
This last chart starts the clock right at the beginning of both recoveries. As you can see, the Obama recovery was briefly stronger, but then petered out.