NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Con Job on Jobs

November 3, 2010

During a speech last week, President Obama claimed, "Job growth between 2001 and 2009 was the most sluggish since World War II, more sluggish than it's been over the last year."  Obama's claim is deeply deceptive, says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

  • Between September 2003 and July 2007, there were 45 months of uninterrupted job growth.
  • That represents roughly 7.8 million jobs created during that time.
  • President Bush did not create these jobs, of course, since governments do not in a meaningful sense create sustainable jobs.
  • But whatever the reason, it cannot be fairly characterized as sluggish job growth.

More importantly, let's look at the jobs data over the past year.

  • After a few months of job growth between January 2010 and May 2010 (total growth: 1 million jobs), the last four months have been bad for total employment.
  • In June employment decreased by 175,000 jobs, in July by 66,000 jobs, in August by 57,000 and in September by 95,000 jobs.
  • That is a total loss of almost 400,000 jobs.

Interestingly, these job losses were concentrated in the public sector.  Perhaps President Obama was looking only at private sector job growth, says de Rugy.

  • Between February 2001 and January 2009, the number of new private sector jobs reached 7.6 million, whereas the number of new private sector jobs thus far in 2010 is 938,000.
  • If Obama meant that the annual private growth rate in 2010 will end up higher than the annual rate during Bush's tenure, he could be correct.
  • But singling out 2010 and ignoring 2009 while using all of Bush's tenure is just cherry-picking numbers to score political points.

Source: Veronique de Rugy, "A Con Job on Jobs," The American, November 2, 2010.

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