Business & Tech

Evan Horowitz | Quick Study

Which president was the greatest jobs creator?

At his press conference Wednesday, president-elect Donald Trump pledged to be the “greatest jobs producer that God ever created.” It’s a lofty ambition, which if realized would provide untold economic gains for average Americans.

But what would it really take to be the greatest job-creator ever? There are a lot of ways you might measure this. In a different context, you might want to think beyond the presidency. Maybe the top jobs producer is the person whose company has employed the most people (perhaps McDonald’s Ray Croc.) Or maybe it’s an inventor, someone who enabled whole new industries (like Thomas Savery, who built the first steam engine.)

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For Trump, though, being the greatest jobs producer that God ever created surely means something more specific: presiding over record growth in US employment.

We don’t have good data for job creation before World War II, but even among post-War presidents, Trump would have some stiff competition.

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President Obama oversaw 75 consecutive months of job growth, and even that wasn’t enough to make him the top presidential job-creator. That title goes to Bill Clinton, who created an average of 239,000 jobs every month in office.

Just behind Clinton are Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson, which means that if Trump does manage to climb atop this list, he’ll be in some pretty Democratic company. The top Republican is at number four, Ronald Reagan.

Only time will tell if Trump can live up to this lofty goal, but as we assess his progress in the months and years ahead, this measure of monthly job-creation may prove a useful yardstick.

Evan Horowitz digs through data to find information that illuminates the policy issues facing Massachusetts and the U.S. He can be reached at evan.horowitz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHorowitz
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