Are You Better Off? No.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research has produced this comparison of economic indicators from 2000 (end of the Clinton era) and 2008 (end of the GW Bush era).

The numbers are a striking proof of how badly the economy has stumbled under the Bush administration.

 Economic Indicator  2000  2008
 Unemployment rate 4.0%  6.1%
 Inflation rate 3.3%  5.4%
 Job Growth (preceding 8 years)    
    Total nonfarm employment 21.4% 4.3%
    Private sector employment 23.6% 3.6%
    Manufacturing employment 2.9% -22.2%
 Employment rate (% of population)    
    All, age 16 and older 64.4% 62.6%
    Men, age 16 and older 71.9% 69.1%
    Women, age 16 and older 57.5% 56.5%
 Real wage growth (preceding 8 years) 8.2% 1.8%
 Minimum wage (July 2008$) $6.58 $6.55
 Family income    
    Median, 2007$  $61,083 $61,355 
    Growth (preceding 8 years) 14.7% 0.4%
    Rate (% of population) 11.3% 12.5%
    People in poverty (millions) 31.6  37.3
 Uninsured (health insurance)    
    Rate (% of population) 14.0%  15.3%
    People without insurance  (millions) 38.7 45.7
 Personal savings (% of disposable income) 2.3% 0.6%
 College tuition (average per year, 2007$)    
    Private four-year college $19,337  $23,712
    Public four-year college $4,221 $6,185
 Gasoline (gallon, 2008$) $2.03 $4.09
 GDP growth (preceding 8 years) 34.2% 19.6%
 Productivity growth (preceding 8 years)  15.9% 21.9% 
 Trade balance (% of GDP) -3.9%  -5.1%
 Federal debt (% of GDP) 57.3% 65.5%
 Net foreign debt (% of GDP) 13.6% 17.9%

Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research. Items in bold are the favorable indicators.

The number that is the most disturbing to me is Real wage growth. Real wages increased by 8.2% under Clinton, but by just 1.8% under Bush. In other words, wage growth was robust under Clinton, but flat under Bush.

Meanwhile, the numbers for Job Growth-especially in manufacturing-are very disappointing.

And this was before the financial market crisis!

In an upcoming post, we’ll look at how African Americans have fared during the Bush era. Hint: the old saying that “when white America catches a cold, Black American catches pneumonia” is very very much true.


One thought on “Are You Better Off? No.

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