President Obama’s Economic Record

Perhaps you’ve heard news that the U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery.

Maybe you thought these were just rumors. Possibly, they were lies from the liberal media. It’s hard to know who to trust these days.

But then you see information from many sources, saying things like:

That’s when you realize that unless all the major news outlets in the world are part of a giant conspiracy to destroy the U.S. economy, they might just be telling the truth.

But you’re skeptical. And that’s good. It means you are smart enough to not believe everything you hear.


All that graphic does is put all the major economic indicators in one chart.

The numbers you see are from the most recent data as of February 23, 2012.

The rest of this page shows exactly where those numbers came from:

What is the “Peak of Recession?”

The “Great Recession” began when the housing bubble burst in mid-2007. However, not everything fell apart at once. The economy didn’t become the top campaign priority until mid-2008; before that, the candidates were all discussing the now-concluded War in Iraq.

In the last two years of George Bush’s presidency, the value of the dollar declined. Business confidence fell, and the economy began to lose jobs. The last thing to drop was consumer confidence, because until this point the average U.S. consumer wasn’t particularly affected by the financial downturn.

Therefore, we can’t establish one date as the “worst” point of the recession. The worst month for job loss was January 2008. Jobs continued to be lost even after that month, until the unemployment rate was at its highest in November 2009.


Unemployment Rate

This is the percentage of the labor force that reported not having a job.

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U.S. unemployment rate, Feb 2010-Feb 2012. Click to enlarge.

Peak-of-recession high: November 2009. Unemployment rate was 10%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Initial Jobless Claims

This is the amount of people who reported they lost their jobs that month.

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U.S. jobless claims, Feb 2009-Feb 2012. Click to enlarge.

Peak-of-recession high: March 2009. Over 650,000 people reported they were out of work.

Source: U.S. Labor Department

Source: Reuters


Job Creation Index

Gallup’s Job Creation Index is based on the net result of their job market surveys.

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Gallup Job Creation Index, Feb 2009-Feb 2012. Click to enlarge.

Peak-of-recession low: Recorded on April 9, 2009, at -16.

Source: Gallup


Business Confidence (Purchasing Managers Index)


The PMI is a composite index of five indicators (production level, new orders, supplier deliveries, inventories, employment level), which are extracted through surveys to more than 400 purchasing managers from around the country, chosen for their geographic and industry diversification benefits. in the United States, the business confidence survey measures the level of optimism that people who run companies have about the performance of the economy and how they feel about their organizations’ prospects. Business confidence surveys can provide useful signs about the current condition of the economy, because companies often have information about consumer demand sooner than government statisticians do.
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U.S. Business Confidence, Feb 2008-Feb 2012. Click to enlarge.

Peak-of-recession low: December 2008, at 33.1.

Source: Institute for Supply Management



Consumer Confidence (Consumer Confidence Index®)


The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) is a barometer of the health of the U.S. economy from the perspective of the consumer. The index is based on approximately 3,000 completed questionnaires reflecting consumers’ perceptions of current business and employment conditions, as well as their expectations for six months hence regarding business conditions, employment, and income. The Conference Board® and Consumer Confidence Index® are registered trademarks of The Conference Board.


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U.S. Consumer Confidence, Feb 2008-Feb 2012. Click to enlarge.

Peak-of-recession low: March 2009, at 25.3.

Source: Conference Board



Exports are items from the United States sold to other countries. When businesses in other nations buy American products, it improves our economy by giving us more business.

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U.S. Exports, Feb 2008-Feb 2012. Click to enlarge.

Peak-of-recession low: Exports in May 2009 totaled $123.3 billion.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce


Now what?

Well now you have a lot of information, verified by multiple sources. What are you going to do with it?

  1. We suggest sharing it with your friends. Show them the chart. Even if they don’t like Obama for other reasons, it’s important for everyone to know what’s truly happening with the economy.
  2. Like our Facebook page. We plan to make more of these.
  3. Follow us on Twitter so you can keep in contact with us and be the first to know about new developments.
  4. If you are so inclined, help President Obama get re-elected this year by volunteering or perhaps even giving a donation. If you need more reasons to, here’s how he has stacked up on the other issues.



The Club for Progress is not affiliated with Barack Obama or his campaign.