Jobs Talk at the Conventions: Is It All Just “Promises, Promises”?

Politician stands at podium At the Republican and Democratic conventions, we’ve heard a lot of promises about jobs — how many jobs each candidate will create, how jobs many they’ve created in the past, and how many jobs they have saved.  So, is it–as one 1960s musical quipped–all just “promises, promises?”

Well, yes… and no.

Last week, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney promised he will create 12 million new jobs if he is elected. However, Moody’s Analytics estimates that the economy will create 12 million new jobs over the next four years regardless of who is elected.

On the other side of the aisle, in 2009, President Obama promised his stimulus plan would create millions of jobs and keep unemployment at or below 8 percent. By the time the president signed the $789 billion Recovery Act into law, the unemployment rate had already cut through 8 percent on its way up to 10.1 percent by October 2009. It has remained stubbornly above 8 percent ever since.

And the new jobs?  At their convention this week, Democrats asserted the Recovery Act created the millions of jobs promised.  And Moody’s agrees, estimating that the Recovery Act created about 2.7 million jobs and that unemployment would have been much higher without it.

But, Moody’s also says that stabilizing the financial industry through the Troubled Asset Relief Program  (TARP) contributed to the positive effect of the Recovery Act.  And, these new jobs were created only after the economy had shed millions more jobs in 2008 and 2009 than the Recovery Act created.

As the conventions conclude, and party leaders work to distinguish their party as the one of choice for voters, Goodwill calls for bipartisan investments into efforts that help businesses to create jobs and help workers learn the skills employers are looking for in order to compete.