President Donald Trump loves to talk about creating jobs, and now has more than a million jobs to point to.
With July’s jobs report, employers have added a total of 1,074,000 jobs during Trump’s first six full months in office.
That essentially matches the 1,084,000 jobs created during President Barack Obama’s last six months in office. Both round to 1.1 million, and the 10,000 difference is well within the margin of error of the Labor Department estimate.
Of course, Trump’s six-month record is far better than Obama’s first six months, when 3.4 million jobs were lost. That’s because Obama was sworn in during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, when the economy was hemorrhaging jobs.
By contrast, Obama handed Trump an economy that was close to what economists consider full employment. The unemployment rate on Inauguration Day was 4.8%, and it has fallen since then, to 4.3% in July.
At full employment, businesses have an extremely difficult time finding available, qualified workers to fill job openings.
In fact, if Obama left a problem for Trump, it wasn’t that the economy was too weak — it was that the labor market was almost too strong. Employers may well be hiring faster if they weren’t having so much trouble finding the workers they need.
The most recent Labor Department data shows there were 5.7 million unfilled job openings — close to the record number since it started keeping track in 2000.
The odds have become much better for people looking for work. Nearly twice as many people are quitting jobs as are being laid off or fired — a sign of a strong labor market.
Trump’s record of 1.1 million jobs in six months is less than the 1.2 million added during the same period a year ago under Obama. It essentially matches the first six months of Obama’s second term, when 1.1 million jobs were added.
The economy lost 515,000 jobs during the first six months of George W. Bush’s tenure, in 2001, when the country was falling into a recession. But by the first six months of his second term, employers added 1.5 million jobs, outpacing Trump’s six-month total.
President Bill Clinton’s six-month totals were 1.3 million jobs added in his first term (in 1993) and 1.7 million in his second term (in 1997).
Trump’s figures could still improve: The readings for June and July are still preliminary, and other months could be revised, too.