The first-term economic records: Bush vs. Obama

George W BushMiss me yet?

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by Clark Barrow

JOBS – At the end of President Bush’s first term, total non-farm employment in the U.S. consisted of 104,000 fewer jobs than when he took office in January 2001. At the end of President Obama’s first term, total non-farm employment in the U.S. consisted of 970,000 fewer jobs than when he took office in January 2009.

UNEMPLOYMENT – At the end of George W. Bush’s first term the U-6 unemployment rate was 9.3 percent, up from 7.3 percent in January 2001. At the end of President Obama’s first term, the real unemployment rate, meaning the number of unemployed or underemployed Americans, was 14.4 percent or 23 million people, up from 14.2 percent in January 2009.

DURATION – During President Bush’s first term, the average duration of unemployment was 17 weeks. During President Obama’s first term, the average duration of unemployment was 34 weeks.

PARTICIPATION – At the end of President Bush’s first term the labor force participation rate was 65.8 percent, down from 67.2 percent. At the end of President Obama’s first term, the labor force participation rate was 63.7 percent, down from 65.7 when he took office.

FOOD STAMPS – In January 2005 roughly 25 million people participated in SNAP. About 17 million participated in the program in 2001. Under Obama, individuals on food stamps grew from 32 million to 47 million.

DISABILITY – In 2004, the last full year of Bush’s first term, roughly 7.2 million people received disability benefits. The number of individuals receiving U.S. Social Security disability insurance payments in 2012 was 9 million.

GDP – The total increase in U.S. GDP during the first four years of President Bush was 9.4 percent. The total increase in U.S. GDP during the first four years of President Obama was 5.9 percent.

DEBT – At the end of President Bush’s first term the U.S. national debt was 64 percent of gross national product. The U.S. national debt was $7.6 trillion or roughly $26,000 per person. At the end of President Obama’s first term in office the U.S. national debt was more than 100 percent of gross domestic product. The U.S. national debt was more than $16.4 trillion, more than $52,000 per person.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Social Security Administration

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