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The Facts About Job Losses and Gains

American employers have added over three million jobs since March of 2010. That's 3,080,000 jobs added from March, 2010 through January 2012!    We have gained over 900,000 jobs just in the past five months!

By contrast, there were 4 million, 462 thousand (that's 4,462,000) jobs lost in the last 12 months of the G.W. Bush Administration as a result of the Great Recession.

That loss of jobs continued into the first months of the Obama Administration, so that a total of 8.7 million jobs were lost by the end of 2009, before the Obama Administration's recovery efforts turned things around.

The following chart shows the number of jobs lost and added, by month. Note the extreme drop in the last year of the Bush Administration, and then the steep recovery starting with the Obama Administration in early 2009.

jobs graph
Jobs Lost / Gained, in thousands
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Monthly job losses averaged 712,000 from October 2008 through March 2009, the most severe 6-month job losses since the end of World War II in 1945. This is what the Obama Administration was faced with as it took office on January 20, 2009.

Jobs in construction and manufacturing had the largest percentage decline since 1945. Financial services, retail and wholesale trade, transportation, information, temporary help, and leisure and hospitality all had the largest job losses on record (since 1939).

This period truly deserves to be called the Great Recession.

Shortly after taking office in January 2009, President Obama proposed, and the Democrats in Congress enacted, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to help end the downward spiral in employment, promote future job growth, and provide aid to those most in pain from the Recession. As the programs took effect in mid-2009, the downward spiral ended, and by March 2010 employers started adding jobs.

The Recovery Act provided extended unemployment compensation to millions of long-term unemployed; it provided funds to states to help them avoid laying off teachers, police and other essential personnel; and it supplemented funds for Medicaid to help cover the increased costs due to the surge in the low income population. It also provided tax cuts for middle class Americans to help stimulate consumer spending.

Republicans have done their best to convince Americans that the Recovery Act did not work, and was just a waste of money, but the job numbers tell the real story: a success story that is continuing into 2012.

The Great Recession of the Bush Administration was unique in that it is the first on record that erased all of the jobs gained in the previous economic expansion. In other words, it erased all the jobs gained during the previous years of the Bush Administration, which had the weakest expansion since World War II.

Republicans claim that tax cuts for "job creators" (they mean the "very wealthy") will result in robust job growth. The experience of the Bush Administration is quite the contrary: the large tax cuts for the wealthy did not result in robust growth, but rather a very weak expansion and the Great Recession. So when you hear Republicans promoting tax cuts for "job creators," don't believe them.