Which Party Makes Jobs?

The last couple weeks has been filled with fêtes for the presidential nominees, and the common denominator in each convention has been “Who’s going to create jobs?”

Bill Clinton gave a very passionate speech which referenced the fact that, since 1961, Democratic Presidents created 42 million jobs, while Republicans created 24 million.  A Politifact article broke down the job creation stats by president, with the emphasis that these are private sector jobs.  This is important for several reasons, the most important of which is that while each party differs in their attitudes towards the size of government (i.e. public sector jobs), they both want to increase the number of jobs in the private sector.

So, I decided to break down the track record of each party and compare it to the amount of jobs each created as president, or with a majority in the Senate, or a majority in the House.

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These are complicated datasets, and open to all sorts of interpretations.  But it seems that the only reliable trend over the last 30 years is that Republicans start job growth, then begin a spiral of decline, which Democrats come in and fix the job losses so that Republicans can continue the cycle.

Average jobs created per year for each combination of party in power. D/D = Democrat president, Democrat-controlled Congress; D/R = Democrat president, Republican-controlled Congress; D/M = Democrat president, One house of Congress controlled by Democrats, other by Republicans; R/M = Republican president, One house of Congress controlled by Democrats, other by Republicans; R/D = Republican president, Democrat-controlled Congress; R/R = Republican president, Republican-controlled Congress.

This can be even more apparent if you look at the above graph which calculates percent jobs created per year.  When Republicans are in power of any branch of government, they have generally less job growth than when Democrats are in power.  The notable exception is when Democrats controlled both branches and both houses from 2009-2011.  If you exclude this 2-year period (1st D/D), this looks really good for Democrats.  If you include it (2nd D/D, far right), it still looks good, but with larger error. But either way, there doesn’t appear to be a statistical difference from one column to the next.

So, there appears to be a weak trend that Democrats make more private sector jobs than Republicans.  However, this doesn’t take into account that the growth of government under Democrats will also create public sector jobs, which Republicans are eager to cut.  So, I guess in a period where everyone needs jobs (public or private), we probably should vote Democrat.


2 thoughts on “Which Party Makes Jobs?

  1. Democratic Presidents also surpass their GOP counterparts in creating dead American soldiers.

    At least, that’s the conclusion if one subscribes to the post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc fallacy put forth by President Clinton on job creation.

    In the past 100 years, 630,000 Americans were killed in foreign wars. So what’s the body count? Republicans: 30,000. Democrats: 600,000


  2. The way you describe this, it would seem that the government has no relationship to the economy. Obviously this isn’t true, as government investments support technology and research (which otherwise wouldn’t be funded in a tight economic environment such as this).

    The point of the matter is nothing in the Republican economic plan will create jobs. Tax cuts will not create jobs. What will create jobs is government creating jobs. As much as people decry it, cushy public sector jobs increases the number of people making a sustainable living (as opposed to people having to work 3 minimum wage jobs). Those people are able to BUY THINGS. Buying things increases demand, which requires greater supply, which will make private sector employers HIRE. Furthermore, this will improve the quality of life in America, as more government investment will lead to improved infrastructure, better teachers, firemen, and policemen.

    Tax cuts are not the path to economic recovery, and anyone who says otherwise is either being disingenuous or delusional.

    Regarding killing Americans, both parties are complicit in massively increasing the military-industrial complex. So, I’m not going to argue that point. However you’re numbers very generously round up for Democrats and down for Republicans. It’s probably closer to 550K under Democratic presidents and 40K for Republicans. If you exclude WWI and WWII (which I assume you support the notion of US intervention in these wars?), it’s 60K for Democrats and 45K for Republicans. I think both numbers are higher than they should be, as I don’t believe in US interventionism (outside of WWI and WWII), but that shows the parties are more similar than you would make it.

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