How good were the 10.9 million jobs under Obama?

Here is Obama's record on jobs
Here is Obama's record on jobs

America has gained 10.9 million new jobs since President Obama took office.

The White House says it's been a spectacular turnaround since the Great Recession. But Donald Trump's campaign calls America's jobs picture "disastrous" and a "total failure."

Who's right? Take a look at the facts and judge for yourself.

The U.S. has had the longest streak of job growth under Obama. For 73 straight months, the U.S. has added jobs. But as CNNMoney has pointed out before, the total job gains under Obama are far fewer than under Presidents Reagan and Clinton. The question is, how good are those jobs?

obama jobs private

All the net job gains under President Obama have been in the private sector. Government jobs have actually declined by 341,000 since February 2009 (the first full month Obama was in office). That said, the government jobs that were lost were all at the state and local level.

Related: President Obama is taking credit for creating 15 million jobs


Disappearing manufacturing jobs have been a dominant issue on the campaign trail. Overall, manufacturing jobs have declined 122,000 since February 2009. But some blue collar jobs are growing, such as construction.

The bottom line is: Almost all of the job gains under President Obama have been in so-called service jobs, such as those in Silicon Valley and consulting. Others are the low-end jobs, toiling in stores and restaurants.

Related: This stock market test points to a Trump win

obama jobs gained by industry

President Obama has been great for the health care sector. Nearly 2.9 million job gains have come in the health care sector alone. It's a mixed bag in terms of "good jobs." Doctors, dentists and nurses are typically paid well, but home health aides aren't.

A scan across the other big job creators reveals a similar story: There's been a 1.4 million surge in "professional services" (aka white-collar jobs in offices) that pay well. On the other hand, administrative assistants and restaurant jobs that tend to pay poorly have also grown a lot.

Related: Key model predicts big election win for Clinton

obama jobs lost by industry

The industries that shed jobs under President Obama read like a who's who list of sectors in decline because of the Internet and smartphone era. Department stores have lost 151,000 jobs as people move to shop more online. The U.S. postal service has also seen a 112,000 employment drop.

State and local governments shed 361,000 jobs, and manufacturing and telephone related jobs have also been on the decline.

obama high wage jobs

The typical middle class income in the U.S. is just over $56,000 a year. Economist Joseph Brusuelas of RSM, an accounting and audit firm, has taken a close look at jobs added in the Obama economy. He defines "high wage" as a job that has a median salary of $58,000 or more a year (so just above the median income).

Yes, there are a lot of assumptions that go into a calculation like this. For example, earning $58,000 in Cleveland takes you a lot further than earning the same amount in New York or San Francisco. But it's a reasonable assessment of how good the jobs are are under the Obama economy.

Brusuelas found that 47% of the jobs created since January 2010 (he argues that's when you start to see the effects of Obama's policies) have been in the high-wage category.

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