President Obama’s job creation problem — in one chart (with caveats)

at 11:33 AM ET, 08/02/2012

In less than 24 hours, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its July jobs report, which, if early indicators are to be trusted, won’t be the sort of turnaround that President Obama and his political team are hoping for in advance of the fall campaign.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is sure to seize on a status quo (or worse) report as yet more evidence that Obama’s economic policies have made things worse not better over the last four years.

But how do Obama’s first three-plus years as chief steward of the U.S. economy — as measured in job gains and the unemployment rate — stack up against the men who have previously held the office?

Not so well, according to a terrific infographic put together by the folks at Political Math. (You can read more about that blog here.)

Yes, Obama took office in the midst of a economic crisis of worldwide proportions. And, yes, the ongoing struggles of European economies have further complicated the Obama Administration’s attempts to dig the country out of this economic hole. And, yes (again), he has yet to complete his first term, making these comparisons (slightly) unfair. And yes (again, again), data can be bent to serve partisan political purposes — on both sides — and Obama and his team would argue that given what they inherited from George W. Bush, he has done as well as could be expected.

Still, in political campaigns, the simplest argument almost always wins. And one look at the chart above makes clear that Obama’s success (or lack thereof) on job creation is decidedly anomalous when compared to those who have held the White House before him.

And that’s President Obama’s problem — in a single chart — as he tries to make the argument to voters that he deserves a second term.

 
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