Sunday, August 14, 2011

Unemployment rising? Higher change during Bush years

Numbers show gain in unemployment higher during Bush years than Obama

Many critics have come out against President Obama for his failure to address the loss of jobs. Their criticism is warranted, but oftentimes goes beyond what they reasonably can fault the president for. Consider these changes in unemployment during the last two presidents' terms:
4.2 percent in January of 2001 (Clinton leaves office)
7.8 percent in January of 2009 (Bush leaves office)
Difference: 3.6 percent

7.8 percent in January of 2009 (Bush leaves office)
9.1 percent in July of 2011 (present)
Difference: 1.3 percent

7.8 percent in January of 2009 (Bush leaves office)
10.1 percent in October of 2009 (Highest rate under Obama)
Difference: 2.3 percent

10.1 percent in October 2009 (Highest rate under Obama)
9.1 percent in July 2001 (present)
Difference: -1.0 percent
What facts we can draw from this: while Obama didn't halt the rise of unemployment during the first few months of his tenure in office, he did slow it down through the stimulus bill his administration promoted and passed through Congress. At worst, the stimulus stopped the drastic loss in jobs; at best, as indicated by the last line, it halted the loss and actually gained some jobs back.

The change to Bush from Clinton resulted in a 3.6 percent gain in unemployment, double what we have seen as a net loss during the Obama administration thus far (and thus, double the jobs lost). And while we shouldn't necessarily celebrate that fact -- a loss of employment, no matter how small, is still not a good thing -- we shouldn't fault Obama as much as conservatives as late have been doing.

Bush left Obama with a steamroller pushing against him; Obama picked up that challenge, and pushed back. It didn't lead to immediate results, and in fact couldn't be halted immediately; but in the end, President Obama showed that he could do what President Bush had neither time nor ability to do: end the rise in unemployment. Obama's next challenge, if he's to win in 2012, is to show he can now lower unemployment rather than keep its levels stagnant, as he has done over the past few months in office.


  1. Why don't we consider the average unemployment under Bush and Obama??? Unemployment got down to 3% under Bush. Is the best we can hope for under another term of Obama another -1%? I think it is time for a new president.

  2. Unemployment was going UP at the end of Bush's 2nd term, including 3+ million who lost their jobs just in that last year-2008. Expecting unemployment to 'magically' stop as soon as Obama took office, let alone after several months in office, is specious at best. This is not including the 6 million jobs that were shipped OUT of the U.S. during Bush's Presidency because of his trade and outsourcing policies. You hoping for a 'New President,' namely Romney, to bring back jobs, when he was notorious for moving American jobs OUT of the U.S. also, when he was with Bain Capital, is no different than having Bush back in office (since he has a boatload of Bush's advisors including Carl Rove on his 'team,') only worse.