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Who has the better Employment and Job Growth Record? Conservatives or Moderate/Liberals (1945 - 2014)

Updated on June 21, 2021
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ME has spent most of his retirement from service to the United States studying, thinking, and writing about the country he served.

What a Recession Looks Like


Some Surprising Numbers

CONSERVATIVES KEEP MAKING A HUGE DEAL ABOUT HOW THEY are the only ones who know how to grow jobs and keep the unemployment numbers down. Because I understand economics and economic theory, I never believed them. They can make this claim until the cows come home, but it will never be true unless the data says it is true. As the mysterious "they" say, the "proof is in the pudding". So, what does history really say?

Let us look at job growth first:

Job Growth By President (source: BLS)

President (Party) 
Job Growth during Term 
Truman (D) 
Men replaced women in the workforce fo no huge bump as WW II ended
Eisenhower (R)
Kennedy/Johnson (D)
2ns Longest sustained period of growth
Nixon (R)
Ford (R)
Carter (D)
Raegan (R)
Bush, H.W. (R)
Recession at beginning of administrion followed by a tax increase on wealthy
Clinton (D)
Tax increase on the wealthy at beginning of administration followed by longest period of sustained growth in American histor
Bush, W. (R)
There was a 2% job Loss in the last month of the Bush administration and the first two months of the Obama administration which should be attributed to Bush
Obama (D)
From low point in Dec 2009

A Couple of Summary Numbers

Average Annual Job Growth for Democrats - 5% increase in jobs per year in office

Average Annual Job Growth for Republcans - 1% increase in jobs per year in office

Can anybody explain this huge difference ability to create jobs?

Now let us look at Unemployment:

How Unemployment Numbers Compare

President(s) (Party) 
Average Unemployment Rate 
Truman (D) 
Eisenhower (R) 
Kennedy/Johnson (D) 
Nixon/Ford (R)
Carter (D)
Raegan/Bush (R)
Clinton (D)
Bush, W. (R)
Within 2 months of the end of his administration, unemployment was 9%
Obama (D)
Includes height of the Great 2008 Recession and a slow recovery as Democrats and Republicans fought over opposing recovery plans.

Average Unemployment for Democrats - 5.2% (with Obama - 6%)

Average Unemployment for Republicans - 6%

Once again, Conservatives come in last; why? There is an old staying in politics, the country needs Republicans to get us out of the wars the Democrats get us into and the country needs the Democrats to get us out of the economic mess Republicans get us into. Obama seems to be keeping up the last part of that old saw while turning the first part on its head.

The Bush-Obama Years

THIS PERIOD IS UNIQUE IN THAT IT CONTAINS THE GREAT RECESSION OF 2008 (it actually began in December 2007). This recession, which would have been a depression save for principally two reasons. The first is the heroic wisdom of President Bush to abandon his conservative economic principles at the last second and agree to pushing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through Congress over the objections of many in his Party and a few conservative Democrats. The second is President Obama's stimulus program enacted shortly after he took office. Neither program probably was enough to prevent a depression but together they squeaked through.

The period after July 2009, when the recession officially ended, meaning it reached its economic low point, is unique in the vitriol in the opposition Party in opposing the initiatives of a sitting President and in their participation in activities to actually thwart a recovery. In almost all previous recessions and depressions of this magnitude on record, the opposition Party actually helped the sitting President in the recovery.

Further, unlike the apparent expectation of the average American, things do not automatically spring back to normal the day after the bottom is found. For financially-based downturns, which this one was a poster child, the recovery periods are extraordinarily long relative to recessions caused by other reasons. To see 24 -36 months pass by for a financial recession is not unusual before the economy to return to where it was pre-recession; the Great Depression took 50 months. For unemployment to recover, it takes longer still. In the Great Depression, it never did for as soon as the economic recovery occurred in 1937, the nation was plunged into another deep recession. It took WW II to pull us out completely.

So, without any hindrance from the Conservatives, President Obama was looking at mid-2010 to mid-2011 before the economy itself got back to 2008 levels, and another year or so for employment to return to those levels, given the growth in the labor force. But, because of the opposition from the Republican Party, recovery has taken somewhat longer.

Now, What Do You Think?

Which Party Do You Believe is More Capable of Solving America's Economic Problems?

See results

Did Your Opinion Change

Because of this Hub, did you change your Opinion on this subject?

See results

© 2011 Scott Belford


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