The George W. Bush Job Creation Failure

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, 1,175,178 per year under Barack Obama, with 53 months of uninterrupted job growth as of March 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)

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5 thoughts on “The George W. Bush Job Creation Failure”

  1. I did what you suggested and looked at the BLS data. The worst track record on record is President Obama. We have lost an average of 300,000 jobs/ year since January 2009. Why was this not mentioned in your post?

  2. The BLS data (which now includes preliminary numbers for Feb. 2012) shows we’ve had 15 consecutive months of job growth, averaging 160,000 new jobs per month.

    Carrying this forward, Pres. Obama is on track to create 896,000 net jobs by the end of his term (January 2013), or 224,000 per year vs. 136,875 for Pres. Bush.

    We’ll update this article with Obama’s numbers at the end of his term.

    ** Updated 12/11/2014. Pres. Obama has now overseen the creation of 6,069,000 jobs, averaging 1,040,400 new jobs per year.

  3. What I love is to hear this Republican Party talk about jobs/economy, they had eight years under Bush and did nothing on either front, if they had we would not be talking about it today! Over a half billion dollars to be spent while we have millions trying to feed themselves, millions without healthcare; we should be ashamed! Americans forget…jobs and the economy only grow when their is demand for goods and services and as long as we have a growing population, and the continued loss due to technology and the fact that Americans continue to buy all thle goods once made in America while we support the economy and jobs of othernations, what part of that doesn’t the American people and the politicians understand?
    We truly are our own worst enemy and the only thing for sure is that government as we know it will continue to borrow money to sustain us as a nation…..regardless of what they say!

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