Net job gain under Obama: 28,000
Historically, the second worst record of job creation.
For jobs, the past four years have been a wash.
The December jobs figures out today indicate that there were 725,000 more jobs in the private sector than at the end of 2008 - and 697,000 fewer government jobs. That works into a private-sector gain of 0.6 percent, and a government sector decline of 3.1 percent.
In total, the number of people with jobs is up by 28,000, or 0.02 percent.
How does that compare? It is by far the largest four-year decline in government employment since the 1944-48 term. That decline was caused by the end of World War II; this one was caused largely by budget limitations. The only other post-1948 four-year drop was during Ronald Reagan's first term, when government employment fell 0.6 percent.
Going back to Dwight Eisenhower, there have been only two administrations that turned in a worse performance in private-sector job growth. There were small declines in Eisenhower's first term and in George W. Bush's first term. Mr. Bush's second term posted a scant 1.1 percent gain in private-sector employment - a gain that was wiped out during the first two months of 2009.
Over all, Mr. Obama's first four years narrowly - and preliminarily - escaped being the second four-year presidential term since World War II to suffer net job losses. The first was George W. Bush's first term.
The average monthly job creation in 2012 was 150,000. That is the best one year performance during Obama's first term. That is barely good enough to keep pace with the number of workers entering the job market every month for the first time, meaning that we have a long way to go to replace the 7-8 million jobs lost during the recession.
Using this metric, it is hard to make the argument that the recovery is "percolating along" or "gaining steam," or any ther Pollyannaish terms you want to throw out there. In a word, the job situation still sucks and won't improve until the dead weight of intolerable regulations and debt are lifted from the economy.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky