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U.S. job growth in Biden's first year tops 6.4 million

The economy created nearly as many jobs in President Joe Biden's first year as were created in Donald Trump's first three years combined.
Image: Joe Biden
President Joe Biden in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus, on Dec. 27, 2021.Carolyn Kaster / AP

Earlier this year, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy insisted that President Joe Biden's economic policies "have stalled our recovery," adding, "Bidenomics is bad for America." Around the same time, Rep. Jim Banks, the chair of the Republican Study Committee, argued that the White House's economy agenda was sending the economy into a "tailspin."

The quotes came to mind this morning while taking stock of last year's job growth. USA Today reported this morning:

For all of 2021, the economy added a record 6.4 million jobs, or 537,000 a month, as the nation continued to recover from the unprecedented losses caused by a pandemic-induced recession and shutdowns of 2020.

Headed into 2021, the recent high point for job creation came in Barack Obama's second term. In Republican circles, it's taken as a given that Donald Trump oversaw an economic boom that saved us from Obama-era doldrums, but none of that reflects reality in any way.

In fact, before last year, Americans saw the best annual job growth in the 21st century in 2014, when the economy created over 3 million jobs. The second best came a year later, when the economy created an additional 2.7 million.

Soon after, Trump took office, at which point job growth in the United States slowed down — even before 2020 recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

But in 2021, the economic recovery, fueled in part by the Democrats' American Rescue Plan, generated job gains unseen in generations. I put together this chart to help drive home the point, showing job growth by year since the Great Recession.

As we discussed this morning, over the course of the first three years of Trump's term, the economy created 6.5 million jobs. This includes all of 2017, 2018, and 2019.

In just 2021, the economy generated 6.4 million, nearly matching the combined total of the Republican's first three years.

To be sure, context is everything. Last year was anything but normal. Millions left the workforce in 2020, and then returned as the economy bounced back. Last year looks amazing in part due to unusual historical circumstances. It's not as if anyone should expect to see 6 million jobs created every year indefinitely. I guarantee that won't happen, no matter how successful the Democratic economic agenda is.

That said, the fact remains that Republicans not only predicted economic ruin in Biden's first year, leading GOP officials even spent parts of 2021 blaming the Democratic president for "disastrous" employment data.

Reality, however, is stubborn.