UPDATED 3/18/2015 with revised BLS data
When it comes to job creation, George W. Bush produced the worst results—less than a one percent increase over eight years—of any president since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) started keeping records in 1939.
See the records for yourself on BLS Table B-1, and select “total non-farm” employment, seasonally adjusted.
This fact was noted by the Wall Street Journal in a Jan. 2009 blog article, “Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record,” by the WSJ staff.
While the WSJ article is noteworthy, we take issue with its methodology for counting jobs, where the WSJ staff measures presidential terms from the end of the month before inauguration to the month before leaving office.
BushToll measures from the actual inauguration month to the month of departure, which better reflects a president’s influence on economic policy.
By our reading of the BLS data (non-farm, seasonally adjusted), total employment was 132,696,000 at the beginning of George W. Bush’s term and 133,977,000 at the end, an increase of 0.97 percent over eight years, or an average of 160,125 per year.
[Updated 3/18/2015] In contrast, jobs increased by 2,586,250 per year under Carter, 2,016,375 per year under Reagan, 659,250 per year under George H.W. Bush, 2,861,375 per year under Clinton, and most recently, 1,259,566 per year under Barack Obama, with 83 months of uninterrupted job growth as of December 18, 2015.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table B-1, Total Non-Farm Employment, Seasonally Adjusted through Nov. 2014.
“Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record,” Wall Street Journal blog, Jan. 2009
BLS Jobs Report 1938-2014 as compiled by BushToll (PDF)