Are American workers better off today?


The answer is matter of considerable debate. President Obama inherited an economy in turmoil. Jobs, the key issue of the election, are still hard to come by. However, things are getting better despite stubborn unemployment.

Shaded area indicates global recession.

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Job growth stabilizing

George W. Bush's second term included a housing bust, a subprime mortgage crisis, and soaring oil prices right before the start of a global recession. Hemorrhaging job losses caused by many of those economic forces ended under President Obama.

Jobs back to Jan. 2009 level

US jobs began to spiral downward at the start of the global recession in Dec. 2007, reaching a lowpoint of 129.2 million in February 2010. US jobs are currently at levels Obama inherited when he took the job.

Joblessness high, but better

Despite the stimulus plan and extended Bush tax cuts, the US economy, weakened by global recession, remains sluggish. Employers continue to conserve cash and protect profitability and are hiring strategically.

Average from 1948 to 2012: 5.79%

SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics; National Bureau of Economic Research

Daigo Fujiwara, James Abundis/Globe Staff