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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Job Growth in the Carter Years: Better than in Clinton or Reagan Years!

Did Jimmy Carter really have a "Failed Presidency"?  Not in terms of job growth. 

Jimmy Carter, King of Jobs
The much-maligned Jimmy Carter had a higher percentage increase in the number of jobs per term  than any president over the last 38 years, going back to the Nixon/Ford term that started in 1973.

A few months back I published this article about job growth during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter , based on statistics provided by blogger Dave Manuel.  

Today I ran the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics myself.  My numbers were very close to those of Manuel, and, though there were some minor variations, my conclusions were the same as his.  I added one column to my spreadsheet, however, and that column was the percentage of jobs lost or gained per Presidential term.  Seems only fair; the population and the number of jobs as a whole was much smaller back in the 70's than it was in the 90's or in the 2000's.  

In percentage of jobs lost or gained per Presidential term, Carter beats all recent Presidents, even Reagan in his second term, and even Clinton.    

Here are the numbers updated:

Cumulative Total Increase in Jobs for Pres.Nixon/Ford (R): +5,072,000 jobs
Average Jobs Per Month: +105,667
Percentage increase January 1973 to January 1977:  6.29%  
Total Number of Months: 48

Cumulative Total Increase for Pres. Jimmy Carter(D): +10,339,000 jobs
Average Jobs Per Month: +215,396
Percentage increase January 1977 to January 1981:    11.36%
Total Number of Months: 48 

Cumulative Total Increase for Pres. Ronald Reagan (R): +16,102,000 jobs
Average Jobs Per Month: +167,729
Percentage increase January 1981 to January 1985:   5.52% 
Percentage increase January 1985 to January 1989:   10.06%
Total Number of Months: 96

Cumulative Total Increase for Pres.George H.W.Bush (R): +2,592,000 jobs
Average Jobs Per Month: +54,000
Percentage increase January 1989 to January 1993:  2.36%
Total Number of Months: 48

Cumulative Total Increase for Pres. Bill  Clinton (D): +22,744,000 jobs
Average Jobs Per Month: +236,917
Percentage increase January 1993 to January 1997:   9.49%
Percentage increase January 1997 to January 2001:  8.48% 
Total Number of Months: 96

Cumulative Total Increase for Pres. George W. Bush (R): +1,094,000 jobs
Average Jobs Per Month: +11,396
Percentage decrease January 2001 to January 2005:    -0.01%
Percentage increase January 2005 to January 2009:      0.83%
Total Number of Months: 96

As you can see, the number of jobs increased 11.36% during Carter's single term.  Jobs only increased 10.06% during Reagan's second term, and only 9.49% and 8.48% during Clinton's two terms respectively.

Many people associate Jimmy Carter with stagflation, a pernicious combination of inflation and unemployment.  Unfortunately, Carter's presidency was marked by a period of rampant inflation and a year of modest unemployment, due to the oil problems in the Mideast.  Both the unemployment rate and the inflation rate were coming down, and fairly quickly, at the end of Carter's term.  However, it was too little too late, and that, along with the Iran hostage crisis, doomed Carter's presidency.  And Carter simply couldn't compete with Reagan's "charisma". 

Personally, my family and I flourished in the 70's.  Several close family members, as well as myself, got some of those brand new jobs created during the Carter years, and at significant increases in pay.  Despite inflation, I remember the late 70's as a robust, vibrant time.      

Update 3/27/2012:
Someone asked:  How did Jimmy Carter increase unemployment yet create jobs?
The unemployment numbers and the jobs numbers come from two different sources.  Jobs numbers and unemployment numbers CAN BOTH increase IF new jobs are being created, AND  the civilian labor force (the number of people who are working or looking for work) is increasing as well.  There will be new jobs, but not enough for all of the people flooding into the job market.  This happened when Carter was in office.  
The civilian labor force increased from about 97,000,000 when Carter took office to over 108,000,000 when Carter left office.  This was due to Baby Boomers entering the labor force in big numbers, and also women (many of whom had been home raising Baby Boomers) entering the labor force in big numbers.  In fact, more people entered the labor market during Carter's one term than have entered the labor market at any time since these numbers have been recorded.  The hearty job growth, 10,000,000 plus jobs, didn't quite keep up with the increase of almost 11,000,000 in the civilian labor force.     
But the unemployment rate went down then up during Carter's term.  It was 7.5% when he took office in January 1977, and it was 7.5% when he left office in January 1981.  The unemployment rate reached a low of 5.6% in May 1979, and it reached a high of 7.8% in July 1980.   

May Jobs Numbers Friday, June 1st. 
 Check back then!

1 comment:

  1. Me too Molly. I remember the Carter years as great years. A right wing friend of mine has since realized he did very well because of Carter.

    Nice job on collecting those numbers for us!


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