Last night we talked mainly about the government programs that Obama has added or changed. However, I certainly did not mean to imply that the economy has not improved since the man took office. Just the opposite, in fact.
Here is a chart (source) that shows private sector job gains and losses in Bush’s last year versus Obama’s three years. Total job gains are not shown, but, as Aaron I think mentioned, state and local governments have shed jobs at a furious clip the last four years. Had it not been for that, the total jobs picture would look a lot brighter than this chart of private sector job changes only.
What about GDP growth? This quote sums it up: The recession is over, but not the jobs crisis.
The economy has been growing now for 10 straight quarters. It has even made up the ground lost from the recession, and the United States now churns out more goods and services than it did before the downturn began in 2007. But that output is being produced with six million fewer workers, despite population growth.
As a result, the share of income produced in the country that is flowing to workers’ bank accounts has been steadily shrinking.
Of every dollar of income earned in the United States in the third quarter of 2011 — the latest period for which data is available — just 44 cents went to workers’ wages and salaries. That is the smallest share since the government began keeping track in 1947, according to the Commerce Department, and it continues a trend that predates the Great Recession. The average share of national income going to wages and salaries over the last 50 years has been about 57.6 cents on the dollar.
You should read the whole thing. She’s not trying to say the old “corporations are evil” thing. She just points out that until companies stop pouring all of their cash into capital equipment and start hiring, workers’ share of national income will stay at historic lows. This will eventually happen.