This morning, the Labor Department released its employment data for December, showing that the U.S. economy ended the year by adding 113,000 private sector jobs, knocking the unemployment rate down sharply from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent — its lowest rate since July 2009. The “surprising drop — which was far better than the modest step-down economists had forecast — was the steepest one-month fall since 1998.” October and November’s jobs numbers were also revised upward by almost 80,000 each. Still, 14.5 million Americans remain unemployed, and jobs will have to be created much faster in coming months for the country to pull itself out of the economic doldrums.
Responding the jobs report, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) noted that President Obama and the Democratic Congress have created “more jobs in 2010 than President Bush did over eight years.”
Indeed, from February 2001, Bush’s first full month in office, through January 2009, his last, the economy added just 1 million jobs. By contrast, in 2010 alone, the economy added at least 1.1 million jobs. This chart, produced by Pelosi’s office, demonstrates the difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration on jobs:
As the Wall Street Journal noted in the last month of Bush’s term, the former president had the “worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records.” And job creation under Bush was anemic long before the recession began. Bush’s supply-side economics “fostered the weakest jobs and income growth in more than six decades,” along with “sluggish business investment and weak gross domestic product growth,” the Center for American Progress’ Joshua Picker explained. “On every major measurement” of income and employment, “the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms,” the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein observed, parsing Census data.