UPDATED 2/5/2017 with revised BLS data through the end of Barack Obama’s second term.
When it comes to job creation, George W. Bush produced the worst results—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 132,706,000 (rounded to thousands) at the beginning of George W. Bush’s term and 134,053,000 at the end, an increase of 1.02 percent over eight years, or an average of 168,375 per year.
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, 1,409,250 per year under Barack Obama, with a total of 76 months of uninterrupted job growth and a net job gain of 11,274,000 for his complete term ending January, 2017.