Glenn Reynolds linked to a whine from John Hindraker at Power Line about media spin of recent job numbers. “I’m sorry to see unemployment climb to 5.1%, but by historic standards, that’s not exactly a “grim picture.” For example, nothing like the unemployment rates that, along with runaway inflation, propelled Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980. But I wondered about a more recent comparison. Do you remember 1996, when Bill Clinton swept to an easy re-election victory over Bob Dole, on the basis of what pretty much everyone in the press considered a near-perfect economy? No “pink slip nation” in 1996!” Reynolds adds, “that was different, because back then a man from Hope promised Change.”

But Paul Krugman fleshes out the comparison in two posts. Here he notes that the percentage of underutilized workers is increasing and here he notes the Bush administration’s anemic job creation record. “this is the total number of jobs added, in thousands, since January 1993 and January 2001 respectively. So the Clinton years ended with a net gain of about 23 million jobs, whereas the Bush years so far have seen a net gain of about 5 million.”