Paul Krugman observes that Mitt Romney has been blasting Barack Obama for not creating more jobs.
Specifically, Romney suggests that we should be creating 500,000 jobs a month–a job creation rate that, as Krugman observes, is rare to say the least.
(For context, excluding the first year of the Obama Administration, during which the country was still in the depths of the Great Recession, 131,000 jobs per month have been created. Including that rough first year, 35,000 jobs per month have been lost during the Obama Administration. But it doesn’t seem fair to blame Obama for the collapsing economy he inherited.)
Meanwhile, Romney waxes nostalgically about the dream-like economy during the Bush Administration, before the Democrats ruined everything. He promises a return to those years.
So here’s a quick quiz:
How many jobs were created per month during the Bush Administration?
We’ll look at two different answers.
First, we’ll look at the number of jobs created on average in the first 7 years of the Bush Administration, before the disastrous last year, when the economy fell off a cliff.
We’ll look at the number of jobs created on average during the Bush Administration including the disastrous last year.
And for a special bonus, here’s another question: In how many months of the 96 months of the Bush Administration were there 500,000 or more jobs created?
Have your guesses ready?
Great. Then scroll down for the answers…
AVERAGE NUMBER OF JOBS CREATED PER MONTH BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION: 20,000
AVERAGE NUMBER OF JOBS CREATED PER MONTH BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION EXCLUDING THE DISASTROUS LAST YEAR: 65,000
NUMBER OF MONTHS IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IN WHICH THERE WERE 500,000 OR MORE JOBS CREATED: 0.
(In fact, there were no months in the Bush Administration in which there were 400,000 jobs created).
Source: The BLS
UPDATE: A reader asks that we “be fair” and exclude 2002 from the Bush years, presumably on the theory that that bad year was the Clinton Administration’s fault. So here goes…
Excluding 2002, there were 58,000 jobs created per month during the Bush Administration.
Excluding 2002 and 2008–which seems unfair, given that the Bush Administration had 7 years to shape the economy in the way they wanted leading up to 2008–there were 130,000 jobs created per month during the Bush Administration. This, it seems worth noting, is almost exactly the same as the 131,000 jobs created per month during the Obama Administration (excluding 2009).
So maybe the conclusion should be that Presidents aren’t worth a jar of warm spit. In decent years these days, the economy creates about 130,000 jobs a month, regardless of who’s in office.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.