Earlier today, on our post about the warning from a Democratic pollster about trying to use an “America is Back” slogan for Barack Obama’s re-election, commenter TopDog linked to a chart that explains very clearly why that strategy won’t work. Stanley Greenberg wants Obama to argue instead for a less-specific declaration that America is now headed in the right direction, and that Obama has gotten job creation kick-started already:
In 2009, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Our biggest banks and auto companies were on the brink of pulling down the whole economy. But we righted the ship. We did not tip into a Great Depression. And over the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs, the most since 2005 and more manufacturing jobs than since the 1990s. We still have a long way to go but we have restored hope and possibility to the economy.
This chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics utterly destroys that argument. The BLS measures the percentage of working-age adults currently employed in the population — and as can easily be seen, three years of Barack Obama has not made any dent in the trough created by the recession:
That is not recovery. It’s not even a start to a recovery. By cherry-picking 22 months, the best Greenberg can claim is job growth of 136,370 jobs per month, which would barely exceed the needed job growth per month to keep up with population growth.
Why cherry-picking? I explained the issue when Obama tried using this claim during his Google+ hangout at the beginning of the month:
But why 22 months? Obama began his term in January 2009, and the recession ended in June 2009. What’s so special about March 2010? Well, not so surprisingly, that’s almost the nadir of employment during Obama’s presidency, which actually took place in February 2010, two years ago this month. Even if he’d picked the right month, it would still only have been 2.654 million, not 3 million.
Calculating from the end of the recession, the net job creation from those 31 months is only 1.407 million, a wan 45,390 net jobs a month, far below the pace needed to keep up with population growth. Calculating for the entirety of his presidency, we’re actually in the hole 937,000 jobs. Obama tried to cherry-pick the worst month in order to claim the most credit he could possible for job growth, and managed to get both the month and the math wrong anyway.
Obama and his strategists can cherry-pick all they like. This chart tells the real story of Obamanomics and job creation during his term.