The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce responsible for measuring our Nation’s economic production. It’s primary responsibility is to prepare the national economic accounts. The cornerstone of BEA’s statistics is the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), which feature estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) and related measures. GDP measurement has been standardized back to 1929.
The following chart shows economic growth for the period spanning the completed presidential tenures of Hoover through Obama 2011. Data for the FDR war years, 1939 -1944, is omitted to counter political arguments that their inclusion skews the results. The data points are operational as average annual change in real GDP per capital, thus they control for inflation and population.
As the historical record shows, over the period spanning the presidential tenures of Hoover through Obama ‘11, economic growth has been much stronger when the Democratic Party holds office. In the aggregate, average annual change in real GDP per capita was 2.45% for the Dems as opposed to .76% for the GOP, yielding a Dem/GOP ratio of 3.2
Gasoline prices have been rising and represent a threat .. or, at the very least, head-winds .. to economic recovery. American drivers could experience record high gas prices over the remainder of this year. This price escalation is occurring in the face of domestic crude oil production that has increased dramatically over the past few years .. and, at a time when demand for gasoline is approaching the lowest level in a decade. Moreover, the U.S. has become a net exporter of gasoline. Still, gas prices are rising, providing political fodder for exploitation in the presidential campaign.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) collects, analyzes, and disseminates a wide range of information and data products covering energy production, stocks, demand, imports, exports, and prices. This includes historical data and on-going updates on regional and national gasoline and diesel fuel prices. The following graph shows the history of weekly gas prices from January 22, 2001 to February 20, 2012. The data is sourced from the U.S. EIA’s Table 12, and represents the national retail price (dollars per gallon) for all grades and all formulations .
Over this period, the record peak U.S. Retail price occurred on July 14, 2007, at $4.17 per gallon. Spanning the Bush years, EIA’s records show falling production until 2005 and flat production from 2005 until 2009 .. and higher consumption levels. Moreover, these years saw minimal oil company investment in renewable and alternative energy ventures .. and a long, well documented succession of federal budget cuts for alternative energy. Under these circumstances, price escalations are understandable. While prices plunged during the Great Recession, they have risen steadily since Obama was sworn in. This is the case despite domestic crude oil production that has increased dramatically over the past few years to the highest level of output in 8 years .. and at a time when inventories of stored oil are unusually high .. and at a time when demand for gasoline is approaching the lowest level in a decade .. and at a time when the U.S. has become a net exporter of gasoline, diesel and jet fuels for the first time in 60 years.
Given this context, the price of oil and gasoline has leaped far beyond conventional supply and demand variables. The hubristic accusations that “Obama environmental policies” are at fault simply don’t add up. A far more rational explanation is that with increased tension over Iran the last few months, financial speculators are fanning the Iranian fear factor into ever-higher prices. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of oil contracts in the futures markets are not held by companies that need oil, for instance airlines and oil companies. Rather, they are held by investors that are looking to make money from their speculative positions. These investors don’t actually take delivery of the oil. They buy the paper, and hope to bid up and sell it for more than they paid for it … before they have to take delivery. How much of the price inflation is due to a speculative premium .. is a guessing game.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles a wide range of employment statistics on employment in the government sector. Government employment can be accessed through the data servlets available under the Databases and Tools header. Data on total government employment are available via CES series Id 9000000001, formatted as monthly totals that net out monthly gains vs. losses. Data on the federal employment subset are available via CES series Id 9091000001.
The following graph displays total government job creation for the period spanning the presidential tenures Reagan through Obama 2011. The data points are operational as average annual change in government sector jobs by presidential tenure, from the month preceding their first full month in office .. to last month in office.
The following graph displays federal government job creation for the period spanning the presidential tenures Reagan through Obama 2011. The data points are operationalized as average annual change in federal government jobs by presidential tenure, from the month preceding their first full month in office .. to last month in office. The federal government time-series data is sourced from BLS data servletAs the data shows, both federal and total government employment since the advent of the Reagan Presidency expanded far more significantly over GOP tenures than when the Dems hold office. Federal job growth was the strongest over the Reagan years. As significant was the substantial reduction in total government employment over the Obama tenure to date. In the aggregate, for every government job created under the Dems, nearly 2 jobs were created under GOP tenures.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles a wide range of employment statistics on private sector establishments. Collectively referred to as Business Employment Dynamics, private sector job gains and losses can be found under the BLS Subject Areas header, and statistics can be accessed through the data servlets available under the Databases and Tools header. Data on total private sector jobs are available under CEU series Id 0500000001, formatted as monthly totals that net out monthly gains vs. losses.
The following graph displays private sector job creation for the post-war period, spanning the presidential tenures Ike through Obama as of June 2012. The data points are operationalized as monthly average change in private sector jobs by presidential tenure, from the month preceding their first full month in office .. to last month in office. The non-seasonally adjusted time-series data is sourced from BLS data servlet CEU series ID 0500000001 available (click) here:
Change in Private sector jobs over the post-war era, Ike thru Obama:
As the historical record shows, private sector job creation over the post-war tenures Ike thru Obama has been far stronger under Democrat administrations. In the aggregate, the post-war economy generated an average 146,000 jobs per month in office over Dem presidential tenures as opposed to 58,000 private sector jobs per month under GOP tenures, yielding a Dem/GOP ratio of 2.5.