"For the eighth consecutive month, the nation's employers shed jobs, 84,000 last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday." The New York Times, September 6, 2008
"As President, I will enact a Jobs for America economic plan that creates jobs." John McCain, September 5, 2008
Remember the last time the number of jobs grew more rapidly under an Republican president? John McCain can't. Because he wasn't born yet. Over the past 75 years, one trend has held constant. Rapid job growth only occurs when there's a Democrat in The White House.
No Republican President -- not Eisenhower, not Nixon, not Reagan, not Bush -- has ever created more jobs, or created jobs at a faster rate, than his Democratic predecessor. It's not even close. The contrast has been especially stark over the past 16 years, when 23.1 million jobs were created under Clinton and less than 5 million were created under Bush. On average, job growth under Democrats is more than twice that under Republicans.
Whatever benchmark you use, the difference is dramatic. Since Truman was elected in 1948, 53.2 million new jobs were created during the 24 years when Democrats held The White House, and 38.3 million were created during the 36 years of Republican administrations. Check it out for yourself:
Millions of Jobs Added
Truman 1949 -1952 5.2
Eisenhower 1953 - 1956 2.7
Eisenhower 1957 - 1960 0.8
Kennedy/Johnson 1961 - 1964 5.7
Johnson 1965 - 1968 9.8
Nixon 1969 - 1972 6.1
Nixon/Ford 1972 - 1976 5.2
Carter 1977 - 1980 10.4
Reagan 1981 - 1984 5.2
Reagan 1985 - 1988 10.8
Bush 1989 - 1992 2.5
Clinton 1993 - 1996 11.6
Clinton 1997 - 2000 11.5
Bush 2001 - 2004 (0.1)
Bush 2005 - 2008 5.1
Of course, business cycles aren't timed to coincide with presidential inaugurals. But after 60 years it's hard to argue that the Democratic presidents are just lucky.
Republicans consistently dwell on the outlier of the trend, Reagan's second four-year term, when jobs grew at a robust rate of 2.7 million a year. But that four-year spurt is balanced out by the anemic rate of job expansion during Reagan's first term and during the first Bush Administration. As the financial experts always say, you should never lose sight of the big picture and always think about the long term.
One final point. You also have to wonder if John McCain ever seriously focused on job growth. Since his grandfather owned an oil company, his family seems to have been unaffected by the Great Depression.
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls. [Job increases for G.W. Bush are through August 2008. Most economists expect more job losses before the end of this year.]