Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Clinton Years - A Correction

One of my diligent students, Ian Buchanan (UVA '09) has thoughtfully noted a frequent error of fact in my blogs. I have on occasion claimed that unemployment averaged just below 7 percent for the eight years of Clinton's presidency. That is not so, as Ian pointed out to me in a recent email.

The fact is that unemployment averaged 5.2 percent for the eight years of the Clinton presidency, not slightly below 7 percent as stated in a recent blog. The first Clinton term did indeed average well above 6 percent unemployment, but the second term averaged well under 5 percent.

On a comparative basis, the eight Clinton years averaged 5.2 percent unemployment and the eight Bush (W) years averaged 5.3 percent unemployment. Both inherited recession conditions, although the highest Clinton unemployment months were in the very beginning months of his presidency, which could hardly be attributed to Clinton policies.

I stand corrected. (The actual facts on unemployment in the US economy are available at the website of the US Labor Department, among other places).