Unemployment Rate: Democrat vs Republican

Here is a list of all the increases and decreases. I compiled them by term.

D-Obama 2nd Term (so far): Decreased by 0.1
D-Obama 1st Term: Decreased by 0.6
R-Bush 2nd term: Increased by 2.9
R-Bush 1st term: Increased by 1.2
D-Clinton 2nd term: Decreased by 1.0
D-Clinton 1st term: Decreased by 1.9
R-Bush Sr: Increased by 1.9
R-Reagan 2nd term: Decreased by 2.0
R-Reagan 1st term: Decreased by 0.2
D-Carter: Decreased by 0.2
R-Ford (partial): Increased by 2.1
R-Nixon (partial) 2nd term: Increased 0.5
R-Nixon 1st term: Increased 1.6
D-Johnson 2nd term: Decreased by 1.7
D-Johnson (partial) 1st term: Decreased by 0.4
D-Kennedy (partial): Decreased by 1.4
R-Eisenhower 2nd term: Increased by 3.0
R-Eisenhower 1st term: Increased by 1.3
D-Truman 2nd term: Decreased by 2.1
D-Truman** 1st term: Decreased by 1.1

Democrats have dropped the unemployment percent by 9.9% since 1948. Also interestingly never leaving a increase. Even poor Kennedy left things better in his short time as president.

Republicans aren’t so lucky. Reagan is the only one who left office with better numbers. Dropping the percentage by a impressive 2.2 points. The rest post a combined negative 14.5 points. Leaving the net Republican total to -12.3 points.

3 Best terms in the last 60 years.
#1: D-Truman (-2.1)
#2: R-Reagan (-2.0)
#3: D-Clinton (-1.9)

3 Worst terms in the last 60 years.
#1: R-Eisenhower (+3.0)
#2: R-Bush (+2.9)
#3: R-Ford (+2.1)

3 Worst (all terms combined)
#1: R-Eisenhower (+4.3)
#2: R-Bush (+4.1)
#3: R-Nixon (+2.1)

** Labor Force Statistics only had data for 1948+. Truman’s first term started in 1945.



  1. What was your method of determining the unemployment rate you used in your analysis. You must be aware that numbers are are sometimes deceiving.

  2. Hey Bob, I used data from here: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000. I don’t count the inauguration month towards the newly elected president, as it’s not a full month and it’s success/failure is much more likely to be attributed to the president leaving, then the one just taking over.

    So for example Bush’s first term started on January 20, 2001. But I don’t start his beginning number until Feb 2001. As he was only in office for 11 days of January. So his beginning number is 4.2. His second term started on January 20, 2005. I take January 2005’s number (5.4) as his ending number which gives the value +1.2.

    I agree some numbers can be deceiving. For the record I am not either left/right sided. I listen to the information both sides present. I do not agree 100% with either. But you have to admit that the numbers constantly siding towards Democrats for unemployment is kinda interesting. Usually listening to the debates, you would (I definitely did) think that Republicans would be better at this than Democrats.

  3. There was never going to be a question about this.

    When unemployment rates are high, people tend to be more liberal and vote democrat.

    When they are low, people tend to vote republican.

    Therefore over the course of a democratic term, you’re more likely to see unemployment rates go down than for a republican term.

    It’s not a question of methodology. It’s all about whether or not you’re asking the right question.

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