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Who has the better Employment and Job Growth Record? Conservatives or Moderate/Liberals (1945 - 2014) [94*15]

Updated on May 2, 2016

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


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    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      9 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I love your comment, Johnkadu, thanks for making it. To answer your question, yes, one can be a fiscal conservative and still be a social liberal. They are a rare breed, for sure, but there is no philosophical reason for it not to happen. To answer your other question, the word compromise dissapeared in 2001.

    • Johnkadu123 profile image


      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      When did the word compromise go out of the window? Somali is a country with virtually no government involvement in anything. I am certain that our Republican friends do not want that for the USA. On the other hand the people in Communist China are often envious of the freedoms that are enjoyed by Western democracies. It is a case of finding the middle ground. For example can someone by a fiscal conservative and a social liberal?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      9 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for reading my hub Dave, however, I am not sure what you are driving at with your comment, although I can be pretty dense sometimes, just ask my Conservative friends.

    • profile image

      Dave Framer 

      9 years ago

      Both parties have ruined for their own self interest, why in the world would an ordinary citizen spend millions for a job that doesn't pay but a couple hundred thousand?Can you say kickback!

    • Stump Parrish profile image

      Stump Parrish 

      9 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

      The comment by Faceless just proves how goof the GOP is at hyperbole as you mentioned in your previous hub about it. If Obama had just increased the tax cuts on the 1% we wouldn't be facing these numbers. I am lmao because I know someone will read my comment and agree with me.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      9 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Btw, @Faceless, even if you look at Sep 30, 2008, before his recession became a reality, the deficit was -$416 billion, a 5-fold increase. (Also, my number for Obama should be -$1,439 billion, I let off the negative sign.)

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      9 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Oops, thanks for catching that @Stump Parrish. It doesn't change the outcome, however, I added the right numbers together despite my incorrect labeling, however.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      9 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thank you, Faceless, for your comment and observation. Here are the facts: At Sept 30, 2001, after the end of the last Clinton budget, the Deficit was $142.7 billion (stated in constant 2005 $ for comparability; it was positive, meaning we took in more money than we spent, for the previous three years) and at Sep 30, 2009, at the end of the last Bush budget, the Deficit was -$1,274 billion; an 10-FOLD INCREASE!! It is estimated that at the end of Sep 30, 2011, the last Obama budget, the deficit was $1,439 billion. Now, how do you think those numbers compare to what you have been told is true; my source is historical table 1.3 from OMB. I don't see where Obama tripled the deficit, do you? I do see where Bush 10-tupled the deficit, however. Oh, btw, most of Obama's deficit increase was due to trying to mitigate the damage done by the Bush recession.

    • Stump Parrish profile image

      Stump Parrish 

      9 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

      Just curious as to how this will change your numbers. You have Reagan listed as a Democrat and while he was originally a representative of the Democratic party he changed to the Republican party around 1962. He stated that he didn't leave the Democratic Party, they left him.

    • Faceless39 profile image

      Kate P 

      9 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Hmm there's more to this than meets the eye. From what I can tell, Democrats just tripled the deficit (Oh, I know, it was Bush's fault too). Both parties have destroyed the Constitution, democracy, and the country. Both parties suck.


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