Here is another update of tracking employment during Presidential terms. We frequently use Presidential terms as time markers – we could use Speaker of the House, Fed Chair, or any other marker.
NOTE: Several readers have asked if I could add a lag to these graphs (obviously a new President has zero impact on employment for the month they are elected). But that would open a debate on the proper length of the lag, so I’ll just stick to the beginning of each term.
Important: There are many differences between these periods. Overall employment was smaller in the ’80s, however the participation rate was increasing in the ’80s (younger population and women joining the labor force), and the participation rate is generally declining now. But these graphs give an overview of employment changes.
The first graph shows the change in private sector payroll jobs from when each president took office until the end of their term(s). Presidents Carter and George H.W. Bush only served one term.
Mr. G.W. Bush (red) took office following the bursting of the stock market bubble, and left during the bursting of the housing bubble. Mr. Obama (dark blue) took office during the financial crisis and great recession. There was also a significant recession in the early ’80s right after Mr. Reagan (dark red) took office.
There was a recession towards the end of President G.H.W. Bush (light purple) term, and Mr. Clinton (light blue) served for eight years without a recession.
Click on graph for larger image.
The first graph is for private employment only.
Mr. Trump is in Orange (40 months).
The employment recovery during Mr. G.W. Bush’s (red) first term was sluggish, and private employment was down 824,000 jobs at the end of his first term. At the end of Mr. Bush’s second term, private employment was collapsing, and there were net 387,000 private sector jobs lost during Mr. Bush’s two terms.
Private sector employment increased by 20,970,000 under President Clinton (light blue), by 14,714,000 under President Reagan (dark red), 9,039,000 under President Carter (dashed green), 1,511,000 under President G.H.W. Bush (light purple), and 11,849,000 under President Obama (dark blue).
During the first 40 months of Mr. Trump’s term, the economy has lost 11,593,000 private sector jobs.
A big difference between the presidencies has been public sector employment. Note: the bumps in public sector employment due to the decennial Census in 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.
The public sector grew during Mr. Carter’s term (up 1,304,000), during Mr. Reagan’s terms (up 1,414,000), during Mr. G.H.W. Bush’s term (up 1,127,000), during Mr. Clinton’s terms (up 1,934,000), and during Mr. G.W. Bush’s terms (up 1,744,000 jobs). However the public sector declined significantly while Mr. Obama was in office (down 277,000 jobs).
During the 40 months of Mr. Trump’s term, the economy has lost 1,102,000 public sector jobs.
SPECIAL NOTE: Most of the public sector jobs lost in April and May were for education. Of the 1.5 million government jobs lost in April and May, close to 1 million were in education. Many teachers are typically let go in late Spring – and rehired in the Fall. This year many teaching jobs were lost early, and this will distort the numbers over the next two months.
The third graph shows the progress towards the Trump goal of adding 10 million jobs over his 4 year term.
After 40 months of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the economy has lost 12,715,000 jobs, about 21,048,000 behind the projection.