U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, during his campaign, promised to create a “dynamic booming economy” that will in turn create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years. The real estate mogul has repeatedly said his policies will put the American worker first and criticized President Barack Obama’s performance calling the last jobs report before the election “disastrous.”
But figures show otherwise. The October jobs report showed that the economy added 161,000 jobs that month and unemployment was down to 4.9 percent. The report, according to the Washington Post, showed that the U.S. economy was “steadily emerging from the shadow of the Great Recession, though it is still below its pre-2008 strength.”
In January 2009, Obama faced an economy that was in free fall. Millions were losing their jobs with an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent in the month he joined office. In October 2009, the unemployment rate shot up to 10.3 percent. In his eight years in the White House, Obama has cut the unemployment rate by half to around 5 percent, which is considered healthy, CNNMoney reported citing economists.
Since coming to power, Obama has created 9.3 million new jobs. In his final State of the Union address, however, the president said: “We're in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the 1990s; an unemployment rate cut in half.”
The White House arrived at the 14 million figure by calculating the number of private sector jobs added to the economy since the lowest point of the Great Recession instead of from January 2009 when Obama was sworn in. The administration argued that policies to get the country out of crisis took time to come into effect.
Conventionally Obama’s track record when it comes to jobs is assessed from when he was sworn in until December 2015. By that metric, he still lags behind former President Bill Clinton whose administration added a whopping 21 million jobs to the economy.
Obama's 9.3 million figure is on par with former President Ronald Reagan’s performance considering the U.S. population now is much greater than it was in the 1980s. Obama, however, beat George W. Bush whose administration added 5.7 million jobs to the economy.
However, Americans are making much less money today than they were before Obama came to power, after adjusting for inflation. The American middle class today is earning about the same as it was in the mid-1990s. The president also admitted that inequality still persists.
His administration also spent more money than it brought in every year. The debt-to-GDP ratio has increased from 48 percent in 2009 to 75 percent as of January 2016. However, the only president in recent times who ended his term with a debt-to-GDP ratio lower than what he started out with was Clinton.
“For the past seven years, our goal has been a growing economy that works better for everybody. We’ve made progress. But we need to make more. And despite all the political arguments we’ve had these past few years, there are some areas where Americans broadly agree,” Obama said in his January State of the Union address.