Diary

GOP Congressional Majority historically leads to lower unemployment

Since the #1 issue on nearly every poll is “the economy” and perhaps the leading indicator, or at least one of the top few indicators, of how well the economy is doing is the unemployment rate, I believe a historical analysis of which party and which policies have led to higher or lower unemployment rates is in order. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is a snapshot of average unemployment rates by year for the past 50 years:

1968 3.6
1969 3.5
1970 4.9
1971 5.9
1972 5.6
1973 4.9
1974 5.6
1975 8.5
1976 7.7
1977 7.1
1978 6.1
1979 5.8
1980 7.1
1981 7.6
1982 9.7
1983 9.6
1984 7.5
1985 7.2
1986 7.0
1987 6.2
1988 5.5
1989 5.3
1990 5.6
1991 6.8
1992 7.5
1993 6.9
1994 6.1
1995 5.6
1996 5.4
1997 4.9
1998 4.5
1999 4.2
2000 4.0
2001 4.7
2002 5.8
2003 6.0
2004 5.5
2005 5.1
2006 4.6
2007 4.6
2008 5.8

See http://www.bls.gov/cps/prev_yrs.htm

Now, in 2009, it stands at a whopping 9.5. Only two years, (1982 and 1983) had higher rates since the Great Depression at 9.6 and 9.7, respectively. Now consider who controlled Congress in the relevant corresponding periods of time:

111th (2008) Dems 257, GOP 178 Dems add 20 seats, unemployment skyrockets above 7, 8, and 9
110th (2006) Dems 236, GOP 199 Dems win in landslide, unemployment goes above 5 and 6
109th (2004) GOP 225, Dems 207 GOP majority, unemployment goes down again, below 5
108th (2002) GOP 232, Dems 201 GOP majority, unemployment stays low, (below 6) despite 9/11
107th (2000) GOP 222, Dems 209 GOP majority, unemployment remains very low
106th (1998) GOP 223, Dems 211 GOP majority, unemployment hits all time low
105th (1996) GOP 228, Dems 206 GOP majority, unemployment remains low
104th (1994) GOP 230, Dems 204 GOP landslide, unemployment plummets below 7, 6, and 5
103rd (1992) Dems 258, GOP 176 Unemployment averages over 7
102nd (1990) Dems 270, GOP 164 Unemployment returns to over six and seven
101st (1988) Dems 261, GOP 174 Unemployment has a temporary dip below six
100th (1986) Dems 258, GOP 177 Unemployment remains high
99th (1984) Dems 253, GOP 182 GOP gains 19 seats, unemployments goes down 2 points
98th (1982) Dems 272, GOP 163 Unemployment hits highest since depression
97th (1980) Dems 244, GOP 191 Unemployment remains high
96th (1978) Dems 277, GOP 158 Unemployment remains high
95th (1976) Dems 292, GOP 143 Unemployment remains between 6.1 and 7.8
94th (1974) Dems 291, GOP 144 Dems gain supermajority in wake of Watergate, unemployment rises from 5.6 to 8.5
93rd (1972) Dems 240, GOP 192 Unemployments remains steady
92nd (1970) Dems 255, GOP 180 Unemployment rises from record lows to above 4, 5, and 6

Bear in mind that though elected in 1970 or 2004, those Congresses begin their reign the following January, thus, 1971 or 2005, respectively.

Any reasonably minded person looking at this snapshot of the past 40 years or so would have to recongnize the obvious correlation between GOP Congressional success and a healthy economy.  When conservatives are in charge, the economy does well.  As unemployment creeps toward 10, this may be worth remembering.  And it may be worth reminding the voters. 

It was not Clinton but the GOP Congress that voted on legislative proposals that expanded U.S. markets and helped small businesses grow and thrive leading to record low unemployment.  The Bush years under a GOP Congress were happy times with record low unemployment.  The Bush years under Dems Congressional majorities were unhappy times with rising unemployment.  The Obama era thus far has been a veritable nightmare under Dems congressional majorities.  With a brief blip in 1988-1990, the story is a steady Dems = high unemployment and GOP = low unemployment for the past 40 years. 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you the Dems are better for the economy.