Skip to main content

Bar graph showing manufacturing job change by presidential administration since 1948. Growth of 7 million under Democrats, loss of 9 million under Republicans.
For an interactive, state-by-state version of this graph, click here.
The United States gained between 5.4 million and 7 million manufacturing jobs under Democratic presidents and lost between 7.3 million and 9 million manufacturing jobs under Republican presidents since 1948, according to a new study by the Keystone Research Center and the Iowa Policy Project. Those changes came during nine Republican terms and seven Democratic ones, meaning that manufacturing jobs grew under Democratic leadership at about the same rate they declined under Republican leadership.

While the largest gains were posted under the earliest Democratic administrations included in the study—Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson—there was manufacturing jobs loss under Dwight Eisenhower, so the Democratic advantage doesn't come purely from having racked up big gains early. In fact, Barack Obama has a better record than eight of nine post-World War II Republican presidential terms, lagging behind only Ronald Reagan's second term in office. This makes for big differences:

The aggregate gap between Democratic and Republican administrations, using our three methods, is about 12.7 million. This means that if Republican presidents had performed as well as  Democratic presidents, the United States would have more than double the manufacturing jobs it has today. Put differently, the manufacturing employment share would be approaching the 20 percent employment share of German manufacturing.
Some of the difference in Republican and Democratic outcomes is attributable to luck, according to the study's authors, with Republicans suffering from bad timing in relation to economic cycles in some cases. (Then again, talk to Barack Obama about that.) But beyond that, they point to several policy areas, including Democrats' emphasis on keeping unemployment low through macroeconomic policy like the stimulus as compared with Republicans' emphasis on fighting inflation, as well as manufacturing policies through which Democrats try to aid that sector of the economy.

So what'll it be: the Democratic president who took office in the middle of a crash and has still accumulated a record better than eight of nine Republican presidential terms, or the corporate raider who made millions moving jobs to China and has promised to double down on the economic policies of his manufacturing-jobs-losing Republican predecessors?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 01:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site