As much as the job market has suffered under President Obama, his record up to this point is still better than that of his predecessor.
That's the conclusion of a recent blog post from left-leaning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who points out that at three years and two months into Obama's first term -- in other words, this past March -- the country hadn't lost nearly as many jobs as it did during the same amount of time under George W. Bush.
But while Obama may compare favorably to Bush in terms of job creation, he doesn't look so good on other metrics. Income inequality, for example, has been much more pronounced under Obama than during the boom years of the Bush presidency, with the top 1 percent of earners capturing almost all the income growth that has taken place since the end of the Great Recession.
Obama's campaign team, naturally, has been quick to paint his jobs record in the best possible light. An ad circulated earlier this year mentioned that employers have added 3.1 million jobs since Obama took office, a claim fact-checked and verified by ABC News, which also points out that there has still been a net loss of more than a million jobs since Obama began his term.
And Wall Street has done very well for itself in the last three years, with financial firms collecting more profits under President Obama than during the eight years Bush sat in the White House -- even though by the time Obama assumed office, it was already clear that reckless Wall Street practices had put the national economy at risk.
Krugman, brandishing a chart, invites readers to compare the numbers. From January 2001 through March 2004, he says, the country lost more than 1.6 million jobs overall, and more than 2.4 million jobs in the private sector. (Krugman doesn't label his axes, but a call to the BLS confirmed that his chart is meant to be read in the thousands, and we checked his figures against the BLS website.)
Meanwhile, from January 2009 through March 2012, the country lost an estimated 740,000 jobs in total, and lost about 161,000 jobs in the private sector. In other words, job loss under Obama -- who inherited a recession deeper than any seen in generations, followed by a recovery that most would describe as modest -- was nevertheless dwarfed by job loss under Bush, at least for the majority of the two presidents' first terms.