At the conclusion of the Obama administration, Republican and Democrat parties had each shared the White House for 28 years, dating back to 1961. This allows a straightforward and direct comparison of the performance of Republican and Democrat administrations over an extended period of time. Comparative variables include change in jobs, unemployment, GDP, debt, and the stock market.

Here we look at cumulative job growth, for each party, over their 28 years in the White House. The eight years of Kennedy-Johnson and Nixon-Trump are listed under only the original president. After 28 years of each party, the cumulative job growth under Democrat administrations is 35% higher. The largest driver for this difference is economic recessions: nine of the ten recessions in the last 56 year have occurred with a Republican in the White House. Even though Carter was the Democrat exception in terms of recessions, twice as many jobs were added in Carter’s four years compared with the first four years of Reagan’s presidency. The Bush II years—the lost decade—saw a decline in private jobs over eight years, though a slight increase in overall jobs due to the increase in government jobs. Democrat administrations created private jobs 13% faster than their government jobs rate during their 28 years. Contrariwise, Republicans created government jobs 9% faster than their private jobs rate.

Data and software: The job growth data were sourced from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED)1. The data was compiled and visualized using Microsoft Excel2.


  1. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/
  2. https://products.office.com/en-us/excel