On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney added another rhetorical superlative to his record when he criticized the slow but steady employment improvement by saying, “We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month.” In fact, such a figure would be an aberration.
Although the most recent employment numbers reflected 19 months straight of growth, the 115,000 jobs figure from March, 2012 is one everyone would like to see go higher. But Romney’s half-million jobs a month figure has never been consistently maintained, and has in fact only been reached a few times, according to the New York Times’ Peter Baker.
Baker looked at the past 50 years and found only five instances where job growth reached 500,000 in a month. First, the following presidents never attained Romney’s ideal:
- John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)
- Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 – 1969)
- Richard M. Nixon (1969 – 1974)
- Gerald R. Ford (1974 – 1977)
- George H.W. Bush (1989 – 1993
- George W. Bush (2001 – 2009)
The list of presidents who did see that rate of growth is short, and to some, surprising.
Both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton saw the creation of 500,000 jobs once each during their eight years in office.
The only president in the last 50 years to see it happen twice (and in only four years at that) was…Jimmy Carter.
The final president to see that level of employment growth was Barack Obama in 2010. No doubt Obama will meet — and break — fellow Democrat Carter’s record in his second term.