During tonight's Presidential Debate, the economy will be discussed, and numbers will be thrown around. On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney has been heard to say that President Obama has not lowered the unemployment rate, or added jobs. These two charts show otherwise.
When Bill Clinton turned the keys to the White House over to George W. Bush, he left behind a budget surplus. By the time GW left office, the economy was a disaster. Obama and his team came in to a mess we hadn't seen in decades. They pushed through the stimulus plan - the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - immediately. Within months, roughly $800 billion dollars began to roll out to the states. Tax cuts were arranged and jobs were created in record time. In October, ten months into the Obama presidency, the unemployment rate peaked at 10%, then finally started to go down.
As you can see from the chart, it was a bumpy road. Every time the rate went up by .10% point, there was a chorus of cries about "Obama's failed policies." When it went down, it wasn't fast enough. But as you can also see, as the "failed policies" had more and more time to take effect, improvements gathered momentum. The team acted to stabilize the housing market, address crises in Detroit and on Wall Street, and invest in small business.
And private sector jobs were also added, which takes us to the chart below.
This one was produced by the Obama Campaign, but the numbers are also straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just the facts. Again, the President has been accused of failed policies every single month he has been in office, when every single month he has made improvements. Immediately upon taking office, this administration started us back on the right path. For the first many months it was a matter of stopping the bleeding.
Then, between February and March of 2010, we turned a huge corner, going from losing jobs to finally adding jobs to the positive. That day should have been celebrated with popping corks across the country. Do you remember it? Do you remember Obama getting credit for a miraculous achievement? Far from it - he was scoffed at for using the word "recovery" in a speech. If you can draw a better picture of a recovery than the ones in these charts, send it my way.
For the most recent version of the jobs chart, with an interactive application you don't want to miss, go to Obama For America's jobs page.
To check my numbers, see the tables on this page at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.