Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall, Which Party is the Best Job Creator Of Them All?

Recently, folks on the left have been posting an impressive statistic re: job creation numbers by administration, showing the Democrats as clearly superior in this regard to Republican administrations.

The republicans (rightly) point out that this does not take into account who controls congress, and they (again, rightly) say that this has bearing.

So I decided to do some checking.

I began in 1945, and marched thru time to the present day.

The main reason I started in 1945 was that, in my mind, this marks the beginning of the modern American state, and that’s the data we’re really after.

I broke down the time between then and now into sessions of congress (two years each), and noted which party controlled the office of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House.

The party that controlled at least two of these three was deemed the party “in control” of the government during those two years, and all the jobs created (or lost) in that time were assigned to the party in charge.

That accomplished, I went to bls.gov and pulled the non farm employment numbers for each month from 1945 to the present.

Then, I summed those totals, creating sub totals for each session of congress.

I then color coded the attached spreadsheet (red for R, blue for D) and created a new column where these sub totals were sorted and summed, to give us a final total for R and D control of government during the entire period.

Before I get to the final results of my search, here’s the pic that has the conservative folk all in a tizzy.

The final results (bear in mind that this is the data the conservatives specifically asked for in back and forth conversations on The Daily Beast and other websites I lurk on).

The dems have been in control of government for 22 of the 33 congressional sessions since 1945 (66.73% of the time). In that time, they have created 58,516,000 jobs, for an average of 2,659,818 jobs created per session of congress they have held a majority stake in the government.

The r’s have been in control of government for 11 of the 33 congressional sessions since 1945 (33.3% of the time). In that time, they have created 29,542,000, for an average of 2,685,636 jobs per session of congress they have been in power.

Pound for pound then, the data indicates that there is virtually no difference which party is in control of government in terms of total jobs created, so the conservative folk have reason to cheer, right?

After all, the picture above, showing dreadful R-controlled-gummint job creation rates is wrong…that’s good, innit?

Well, sadly for the Republicans, there’s little reason to cheer.

See, for decades, the Republicans have been touting themselves as the party of business.

They’ve demonstrated a willingness, time and time again to choose “creating a favorable business climate,” over the needs of American citizens (things like, strong regulations to keep food safe and water clean–many R’s want to outright abolish the EPA, see statements by well such well-known Republican politicians as Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich–to eliminating minimum wage laws, eliminating child labor laws, and a whole host of other, perfectly reasonable protections.

We must do this, and lower taxes for the “job creators,” and curtail spending on the social safety net, and a whole raft of other things, because if we don’t, we’ll kill the American economy.

At the same time they have been touting the positions above, they’ve also been demonizing anyone who thinks social spending might be a good idea, categorizing the democrats as being anti-business in the best case, and communists out to destroy the nation in the worst.

Except the data does not support either of their contentions.

For all their efforts to “foster a better business environment” by pursuing their agenda, and for all their demonization of “the other team,” their record on job creation is virtually identical to that of the Democrats.

This, to me, indicates that the Democrats are likely correct when they say that reasonable regulation and tweaks to the marginal tax rate have a negligible impact on job growth, while the Republicans are likely INCORRECT to say that raising marginal rates by 3% on personal federal income taxes and regulation are major deterrents to business.

In other words, according to the data the conservatives specifically asked for in response to the picture above, none of their claims are true.

They (the Republicans) are not the masters of job creation, and their efforts to roll back or eliminate various protections for American citizens over the years have had a negligible impact on the number of jobs they’ve been able to create.

Hand in hand with this, the Democrats are (again, per the data the conservatives asked for) very definitely not the party of librocommiefascist anti-business job killingry.

Some conservatives have already complained about this data they have requested, claiming that “correlation does not equal causation,” and maintaining the position that they’re still right, even in the face of what seems to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary (boy, is that ever a common theme with them!)

The thing is…correlation not equating to causation only “works” when you’re responding to data that has been cherry picked, and only looks at a small frame of time.

What we’re doing here is looking at the entire time span from WWII to the present, and what we’re finding across that span of decades is remarkably consistent.

In order for a hypothesis to be true, it needs to be repeatable.

That is to say, it needs to provide pretty consistent results across time.

This data meets that criterion, and it proves the republican claims categorically incorrect.

Who’s surprised?

dominant political party spreadsheet


  • http://twitter.com/LOLatGOP LOLatGOP

    Good stuff! I read something similar in the book, Presimetrics. It’s good to read your methodology on this!

  • Velociryx

    Morning, LOL! I’ve not read the book you referenced, but I’ll put it on my list! Glad you enjoyed and found it helpful. I’m always glad to provide ammo to bash conservatives over the head with. :)


  • D. Stewart

    Vel, nice job!….May borrow (with credit) to post thereabouts locally…

  • Velociryx

    Hello Mr. Stewart, and I’d be honored if you made use of any ammunition you find on this site! If we stick together, we can beat back the conservative spin machine, so fire away!

    I mentioned this elsewhere, but will mention it here too…I take requests! So if there’s something you’d like to see written about or debunked, or just want to see something on a particular topic put up here as fodder for discussion, suggest away! My goal is to turn this place into a vibrant community, and that starts with you guys. :)