AUG#: +130,000 jobs.

Unemployment up at 3.7%...AUG jobs under Trump HERE

Friday, August 3, 2012

How Many Jobs Has Obama Created or Lost? (July 2012 update)


August 2016 update for THIS REPORT found HERE.

August 2016 reports
(released Friday, Sept., 2) found  HERE.

The following numbers are for July 2012.  
For latest reports and numbers, please click one of the links above.

How many jobs created or lost under Obama?
How many private sector jobs have been lost or added during Obama's presidency?

Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010:

  • 4,001,000 MORE jobs in total
  • 4,545,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 4,252,000 MORE people working 

Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009):
  • 316,000 FEWER jobs in total
  • 332,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 33,000 MORE people working

Since the stimulus was passed (# as of March 12, 2009): 
  • 1,207,000 MORE jobs in total
  • 1,844,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 1,466,000 MORE people working

Since the beginning of Obama's first Fiscal Year (October 2009): 

  • 3,511,000 MORE jobs in total
  • 4,083,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 3,445,000 MORE people working

Have any private jobs been lost (net) over the past 29 months?
  • 29 months of consecutive private-sector job growth.

Have any jobs been lost (net) over the past 22 months?
  • 22 months of consecutive over all job growth.

(Explanations and detail below.  Keep reading.)

How many jobs have been lost or gained during the Obama administration?  Have more new jobs been created or have more jobs been lost under Obama to date?   


We are in positive territory when we look at total jobs numbers, private jobs numbers, and people working compared to the "trough" of the jobs recession in late 2009/early 2010.

We are also in positive territory when we look at total jobs numbers, private jobs numbers, and people working compared to the start of Obama's first Fiscal Year in office which started October 1, 2009.

We are still in negative territory in terms of total jobs numbers since Obama took office; however, we are in positive territory in private sector jobs and in the number of people working.  

We are now adding jobs at a fair clip, with an average of 152,600 MORE jobs  total added per month since December 2010, and an average of  170,000 MORE jobs added per month in the private sector since December 2010.

Here's a summary of data from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).  All numbers lost to the "trough" of the recession reflect ALL non-farm jobs lost between the time Obama took office and the lowest point of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 :
(Note:  All of the jobs numbers are NET numbers.  In other words, we know that jobs are lost and added every month, in good years and in bad.  The numbers reported here, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, are "net" numbers; that is, the number of jobs gained after the number of jobs lost is subtracted, or the number of jobs lost after the number of jobs gained is added.)  
Seasonally adjusted:
  • All jobs lost from the time Obama took office to "trough" (bottom of recession): .....4,317,000
  • All jobs gained since "trough": ....4,001,000
Net LOSS in seasonally-adjusted jobs since Obama took office: .... 316,000                     

"Raw:" numbers not seasonally adjusted:
  • Jobs lost from the time Obama took office to trough: .....4,246,000                                                    
  • Jobs gained since "trough": .......5,559,000
Net GAIN in raw unadjusted jobs since Obama took office: ..... 1,313,000 

*Though, as of July 2012, we still had fewer jobs (in adjusted numbers) than when President Obama took office, jobs are being added at a faster clip under Obama than under George Bush at the same time in his presidency.  At this point in Bush's presidency (July 2004), there were still 978,000 fewer jobs than when he was inaugurated in January 2001 (compared to 316,000 fewer for Obama).  The number of jobs didn't eclipse the number when Bush was first inaugurated until February 2005, in Bush's second term.  

How many private sector jobs have been gained or lost since Obama took office?

Seasonally adjusted:
  • Private-sector jobs lost to "trough" (bottom of recession): .....4,212,000
  • Private-sector jobs gained since "trough": .....4,545,000
*(This is the number often used by Obama and the Democrats as the number of private jobs created since the "trough" of the recession .  It is a correct number, but it is a seasonally-adjusted number.  In "real" unadjusted numbers [the actual number of jobs that your family and neighbors have], there are 7,259,000 MORE private sector jobs than there were at the "trough" of the recession.)
Net GAIN in seasonally-adjusted private-sector jobs since Obama took office: ....332,000                      

"Raw:" numbers not seasonally adjusted: 
  • Private-sector jobs lost to "trough": .....4,151,000 
  • Private-sector jobs gained since "trough": .....7,259,000                       
Net GAIN in "raw" unadjusted private-sector jobs since Obama took office: .....3,108,000  

*Though, as of July 2012, we still had fewer private-sector jobs (in adjusted numbers) than when President Obama took office, jobs are being added at a faster clip under Obama than under George Bush at the same time in his presidency.  At this point in Bush's presidency (July 2004), there were still 1,749,000 FEWER private sector jobs than when he was inaugurated in January 2001 (compared to 332,000 MORE for Obama).  The number of private-sector jobs didn't eclipse the number when Bush was first inaugurated until June 2005, in Bush's second term.      

How many government jobs have been gained or lost since Obama took office?

Seasonally adjusted:
  • Government jobs lost from Obama's inauguration to "trough" (bottom of recession): .....105,000
  • Government jobs lost since "trough": .....543,000
  • The peak of government jobs since Obama was inaugurated, not counting Census 2010 workers, occurred in April 2009.  There were 21,675,000 government jobs that month.  That's 99,000 more government jobs than we had in January 2009.
  • Government jobs lost since that peak in April 2009:  747,000     
Net LOSS in seasonally-adjusted government jobs since Obama took office: ....648,000                      

"Raw:" numbers not seasonally adjusted: 
  • Government jobs lost to "trough": .....95,000 
  • Government jobs lost since "trough": .....1,700,000                       
Net LOSS in "raw" unadjusted government jobs since Obama took office: .....1,795,000

(Note:  All of my employment number reports are based on monthly reports and data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Monthly numbers reports are based on the monthly Employment Situation Report.  The Employment Situation report includes month over month and year over year numbers of jobs and workers.  My analysis is taken from the monthly BLS data copied to an Excel spreadsheet every month.  I calculate detailed percentage increases/decreases, 3 month numbers, 2011 to date numbers, and I compare jobs numbers to those at the time of Obama's inauguration and at the "trough" of the recession.  As the BLS revises its numbers as new information is available, I use the latest available numbers in my monthly articles, which means that those numbers may differ slightly from numbers published in previous months.) 


  1. Some typos in the "How many government jobs have been gained or lost since Obama took office?" section...

    -Mike S-

  2. I reread and fixed those typos.. and hopefully clarified that section. Thanks!

  3. 316,000 FEWER jobs (total) now than when Obama was inaugurated

    Tell me, without mentioning Bush, how is this acceptable?

    1. I'm going to mention Bush. First of all, tell me who you supported in 2004.. and don't lie.

    2. Let me explain this in more detail. Everybody would like "full employment", and full employment as we mean it here, not "full employment" in some third world country. (Vietnam has the lowest unemployment rate in the world right now. I doubt if any of us really want to trade economies with Vietnam.)

      We really haven't come up with a solid definition of "full employment". We know that there will always, at any point in time, be people looking for work, sometimes due to layoffs, sometimes due to people entering or re-entering the labor force. The ultimate idea is that anyone who wants a job can get one commensurate with his/her abilities and training... and that jobs will pay at least enough on which to live (depending on the person's goals, of course).

      So.. There are two issues here: First a definition of "full employment" to which we as a nation aspire; secondly, we need to figure out some commonly accepted standard of how we get to that "full employment". We know that we can't wave a magic wand and have millions of jobs appear.. Well, we could, but that would mean some kind of government jobs program, and we couldn't get a significant portion of the people (as represented by Congress) to agree to that, or a big war like WWII.. and only a few extremists want that.

      So all we can do is to look at past periods of job growth. Our job growth now is in some ways on a par, in some ways, above par compared to that of Bush II. We haven't had a surge of jobs growth as we had starting in 1992 moving into the Clinton years. Is our job growth acceptable now? Well, we are now adding enough jobs to accommodate the growth in the population (about 70,000 a month) and anything over that goes to making up the jobs deficit that has existed since early 2008.

      We needed more jobs per month to accommodate the growth in the population during the early Bush years because we had more people of prime working age.

      So... the question remains: If you aren't happy with the rate of job growth under Obama, were you equally unhappy with the rate of job growth under Bush in 2004? Were you dancing around and calling Bush a "failure" due to paltry job growth? If not, then why the double standard? Why is what you found acceptable back then with a Repub Prez not acceptable now... with a Dem Prez?

    3. "People use statistics the drunks use lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." Dr. J.G. Westra

    4. To John Westra: There are a lot of numbers on this site. Numbers with adequate interpretation become facts. How can you have illumination without facts?

    5. Depends on where you get your numbers. I am a BlackBelt six sigma guy and statistics can be and are manipulated to meet the needs of the statistician or his employer.

  4. I don't understand your answer to Dave above...who the heck was satisfied with the employment picture under Bush....and I even voted for him. He turned out not to exhibit republican principals...such as small government,fiscally conservative, etc. He went along with the dems on spending and certainly didn't pay for wars and some social programs he added during his tenure. We can't afford to go the way we have been in our spending and lack of entitlement reform these past 4 years. Where the heck are the adults in Washington....they all act like kids in a candy store...only the candy is our money and our children's money!

    Obama has clearly shown that he doesn't understands the American economy....nor do his handlers. We need a change in our leaders starting with the president and his team.

    1. Sorry, Myron, I will get back to you in the next day or two.

  5. Where do you get your numbers from? For the record I support Obama I just want to be able to prove what your saying with sources.

    1. All of my numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics databases, tables, and reports.

      I will update the paragraph at the end of this post with more specific information as to which tables I use.

      Thanks for dropping by, Patrick!

  6. Molly,

    Thanks for showing the numbers the three ways you do:
    - from the time O took office
    - from the time the numbers hit its "trough"
    - from the time the stimulus was passed

    The conservatives (I'm one) shouldn't get too hung up on the first number (the day O took office). It takes at least a little bit of time to start moving. Although, honestly, a lot of what O did was to continue or expand on measures Bush put in place (i.e., stimulus, auto bailout).

    And the liberals shouldn't get hung up on the second number (since the "trough"). You can't just pick the worst point in the recession and say "that is all on Bush, and everything after that is on O." That would be some seriously dishonest cherry-picking.

    I think your third number (since the stimulus) tells the story very well. In roughly 3 1/2 years, there has been very little net change in the employment numbers. He has basically done a little better than break even. Regardless of who got us into this mess (yes, under Bush's watch so there is blame there; but also due largely to Dem's race bating love for Fannie/Freddie), O has NOT gotten us anywhere close to out in 3 1/2 years. Many feel that these numbers could easily be the same or better had O just done nothing. In fact, O's own unemployment numbers forecast shows we would have done better had he just done nothing:
    (I know this is unemployment rate, not employment numbers like you use on your site, but there is enough of a correlation that it is relevant.)

    In fairness to O, his team has since stated (after failing to meet these numbers and effect significant change) the recession was worse than they thought. For me, all things point to an O team that doesn't have the answers, and has only hindered the recovery. Especially taking into consideration that, just as the left claimed against Bush, many of these new jobs pay less and give less hours and so 1 job added does not fully compensate for 1 job lost.

    1. Sorry, Greg, I will answer you later this evening or tomorrow. It's been a busy few days over here.

  7. Quick question. What is the difference between "jobs in total" and "people working"? How can you have 4 million more jobs, and 4.2 million more people working? Is this because of part-time jobs (someone working half-time counts as 1/2 of a new job, but as 1 person working)?


    1. "Jobs" and "people employed" are two different numbers coming from two different sources. "Jobs" are reported by employing establishments. Agricultural workers, self-employed people, and a few smaller groups are not counted in the "establishment" or "jobs" report. This is the number that is mentioned monthly.

      "Employment" is self-reported from a survey of people (vs. employers). It includes the self-employed and agricultural workers. There are usually about 1.07 "employed" people for every job, or a difference of about 9,000,000 people. Over time, the ratio of "jobs" to employed people is fairly consistent, but in any one month, it can be off. So while we have had only increases in total numbers of jobs, we have had increases AND decreases in the number of people reporting themselves as employed. Because it is a self-reported number, it is more volatile, and I would also assume that people who are self-employed may work some months and not others.

      People working part-time are reported as "employed" and part-time jobs are reported as "jobs", but there are various reports that distinguish people working part-time from people working full-time.

      Thanks for dropping by, and I'm sorry it took me a couple of days to get back to you.

    2. Thanks for clearing that up, Molly.

  8. How can there be 316,000 fewer jobs since Obama took officer but, at the same time, there are 33,000 more people working? Very curious. Thanks

    1. Please read my reply right above this question... Basically, "jobs numbers" don't count as many people as "employed people".

  9. 9.5 million Americans have left the workforce during the presidency of Barack Obama, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    In April, the total number of Americans counted as "not in the labor force" declined for the first time since December, but that number was still near a record high at 89,936,000
    January 10, 2014
    Participation rate in labor force matches 35-year low.
    Blaming President Bush for what is happening today is a clear statement to the fact the democrat strategy simply don't work. You can fancy up the numbers all you want but they are based on lies when in fact the participation in the labor market is the worst it has been in 35 years. This is Obamas fault not president bush. I'LL use the name somethingsmellsfishy

    1. So you and your Republican friends don't believe that people should retire? What else are you trying to say?

    2. There are 1.4 million MORE people in the civilian labor force now, in May 2014, than there were in January 2009 when Obama took office. So.. I'm not sure exactly who the 9.5 million people are. Yes, people leave the labor force every year, every month, every day. They: 1. Retire. 2. Die. 3. Go back to school. 4. Become disabled. 5. Stay home to care for children or ailing family members. 6. Go into the military. etc. If you can provide a link to the "9.5 million who left the workforce", perhaps we can figure out what that number means and where it came from.

      The recession and the slow speed of recovery are completely the blame of the Republicans who created the crisis in the early 2000's and the current batch of Republicans who made a pact to destroy Obama's presidency back when he was first inaugurated.. and who have engaged in constant, unprecedented obstruction. Unfortunately, some of their tricks have worked, as many Americans are unfortunately ignorant of the truth (due to the constant bleating of rightie ralk radio and Faux news) as well as brainwashed.


I appreciate intelligent comments and questions, including those that are at odds with anything posted here. I have elected not to screen comments before they are published; however, any comments that are in any way insulting, caustic, or intentionally inflammatory will be deleted without notice. Spam will also be immediately deleted.