The Manufacturing Jobs Score by President Since 1948

By Stephen Herzenberg, Third and State

After former President Bill Clinton claimed the “jobs score” was better in Democratic presidential administrations than in Republican ones, Colin Gordon of the University of Iowa and I did some research to see how presidential administrations scored on manufacturing job creation since Harry Truman. Our findings are published on AlterNet this morning.

We thought it was important to do this analysis because manufacturing jobs are typically family-supporting jobs – in other words, good jobs. Manufacturing also plays a critical role in the growth of overall living standards, a point on which there is bipartisan consensus.

What’s the punchline? Democratic administrations (seven since 1948) on average add around a million manufacturing jobs every four years. Republican administrations (nine since 1948) lose about a million manufacturing jobs every four years.

We think these findings will be especially salient in battleground states such as Pennsylvania where voters in manufacturing-intensive regions make up a large share of swing voters.

For more, read our full piece on AlterNet.

3 thoughts on “The Manufacturing Jobs Score by President Since 1948”

  1. At the same time, Bill Clinton should be the last one to make a case for the preservation of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

    How short are one’s memories of this president’s duplicitous efforts in 1993 to ram the NAFTA Agreement through a strongly opposed Democratic Congress – even going so far as to shamelessly pander for votes from among the most pro-business, anti-union Republicans.

    Mr. Clinton betrayed America’s working men and women, including those union members who elected him to office in 1992.

    Our inheritance from his presidency can be found in those millions among us who watched helplessly as our workplaces were shut down, machinery dismantled and one’s very means to a livelihood shipped off to a Mexico where hapless workers were terribly exploited by predatory and rapacious U.S. corporations.

    In Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and in cities and small towns on through what we now call the rust belt, middle class families suffered severe economic deprivation as they were pushed down into near-poverty as well as suffering an epidemic of domestic violence and in some cases, even suicides.

    If one should seek out Mr. Clinton’s true legacy, travel to any one of a hundred of Pennsylvania’s former manufacturing communities and take a long look around at the empty and silent factory buildings…the once busy and now deserted main streets with vacant store fronts…and yes, the broken spirits of the people themselves.

    I have no argument with the facts of Mr. Herzenberg’s article as posted here and expanded on AlterNet.

    Nevertheless, I would suggest to him that Mr. Clinton serves as the worst of all messengers.

    Matt Thomas


  2. Yes…I entirely forgot about this president and his Goldman Sachs Secretary-Treasurer Rubin’s dirty deal to kill off FDR’s prized Glass-Steagall which eventually led straight to the 2008 economic collapse.

    One might add to this Clinton’s 2000 trade deal with China that totally ignored that government’s human rights violations including Beijing’s jailing and butchery of Chinese students and other dissidents while the jobs of further millions of U.S. workers were sacrificed on his altar of so-called “free trade.”

    Matt Thomas

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