Yes, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz D-FL) was apparently serious yesterday when she told Stuart Varney that the Obama administration would create as many jobs in 2010 as during “the entire Bush presidency,” a moment that comes at about 1:50 in the clip below. This claim came in response to Varney’s challenge to the incumbent Democrat as to how she will explain her vote to spend a trillion dollars when it failed to achieve its objective in keeping unemployment below 8%. Wasserman-Schulz does a strange double down in reply. But was she right?
For the record, employment grew during the Bush years from 137,778,000 in January 2001 to 142,221,000 in January 2009, a net growth of 4,443,000 jobs over the course of the Bush years. The economy has added 1,663,000 jobs this year (from 137,792,000 in December 2009 to 139,455,000 in April 2010), over four months. At that rate, assuming the same rate of job growth (as Wasserman-Schultz herself set the parameters of her claim), that would predict a growth of almost 5 million jobs — which puts Wasserman-Schultz’s argument in the ballpark.
However, it’s worth pointing out that the numbers on private employment, excluding government employment, don’t look nearly as good. At one time during the Bush years, private employment had expanded by almost 4 million, reaching its peak in December 2007. That was true despite dealing with a couple of recessionary periods during the first term of his presidency. The resulting collapse wiped out all of those gains, however, and left Bush with a deficit of 673,000 jobs. In contrast, Obama has lost over 3.3 million jobs in private employment since the start of his term on top of what was lost in the final year of the Bush presidency. In 2010, private employment has only climbed by 483,000 jobs. At that rate, it will take 28 months to restore just the private-sector jobs lost during the Obama administration — and another 32 months to get back to the peak of private employment during the Bush years.
That also doesn’t account for population growth, either. An employment level of 115,574,000 private-sector jobs in December 2007 will not be the equivalent of having that number in 2016.
In short, Wasserman-Schultz may be technically correct in this claim, thanks to aggressive government expansion and hiring, but it’s a seriously misleading argument. (h/t: HA reader Yossi Kudan)