It was no surprise that the debate started with the central issue of the presidential campaign: job creation.

President Obama took credit for creating more than 5 million private sector jobs over the past 30 months. What he did not mention was that the nation has created fewer than one million jobs since February 2009, his first full month in office.

The reason, of course, is that Obama took office amid the steepest economic decline since the Great Depression and the recession did not end until June. But even since the recession's end, job creation has been too weak to return the jobless rate, now 8.1 percent, to normal levels.