A viral tweet inspired a deep dive into job creation under Obama and Trump. It turns out that the former was better for our economy.
United States President Donald Trump's favorite pastime is boasting about all his accomplishments. He especially loves this activity when he can compare himself to former President Barack Obama - only when he somehow turns out better than him, of course. While there is a lot to be said about the legacy he will leave as President in comparison to Obama, one thing was recently ascertained by Snopes.com, a popular fact-checking website: As President, Obama created far more jobs in his last three years than Trump did in his first three years in the White House. That's probably something Trump won't be tweeting about.
The comparison became a point of interest when Democratic Representative for New York Carolyn Maloney responded to a tweet posted by Obama regarding his decision to sign the Recovery Act into law in 2009. He wrote, "Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history." Sharing his tweet, Representative Maloney stated, "President Obama created 1.5 million more jobs in his last three years than Donald Trump has in his first three years."
Needless to say, this caused quite the stir-up on Twitter, with Trump fanboys coming quickly to protect their overlord. Thankfully, America's economists came to the rescue. The statistic, as Dan Macguill writing for Snopes.com discovered, came from a Huffington Post article that analyzed both Presidents' economic records. It read, "[Trump] created 1.5 million fewer jobs in his first three years in office than predecessor Barack Obama did in his final three. Newly revised figures from Trump’s own Department of Labor show that 6.6 million new jobs were created in the first 36 months of Trump’s tenure, compared with 8.1 million in the final 36 months of Obama’s ― a decline of 19 percent under Trump."
Were the assertions true? Long story short: yes. While there are several ways to calculate job growth in the United States, which means the actual figures could be disputed, the central claim remains true. Obama did, in fact, create more jobs in his last three years as President than Trump did from 2016 to 2019. Macguill affirmed, "Employment has grown during the first three years of Trump’s presidency, but at a significantly slower rate than it did towards the end of Obama’s tenure." The difference in the rate of growth ranges anywhere between 18.2 percent and 19 percent, as per various methods of calculation.
Nonetheless, it must be noted that Presidents have little to do with the state of the economy - whether that's Obama or Trump. As Neil Irwin, writing for The New York Times in 2017 prior to Trump's inauguration, remarked, "Presidential economic records are highly dependent on the dumb luck of where the nation is in the economic cycle... The relationship between presidential action and the economic outcome is often uncertain and hard to prove." So why does it matter whether Obama actually did create more jobs than his successor? Well, mostly because Trump wants to take ownership of an economy he didn't help build and often spews lies about.
President Trump has, on numerous occasions, tried to insist that positive economic indicators were a result of his Presidency, which is far from the truth. If we are to give Trump credit for any movements in the economy, he must be prepared to bear the brunt of all kinds of movements - positive or negative. With a global recession looming in front of Americans, the President's ability to manage this economic crisis may have deep and irreversible repercussions on the upcoming Presidential elections. After all, let's not forget that Obama entered office only to confront a crumbling economy after the 2008 recession. His leadership, strategy, and intellect helped guide an entire country back to stability. Will Trump be able to match his predecessor, let alone prove himself an even better leader? We're not so sure.