Which Party is Better at Handling the Economy? Democrats–And It’s Not Even Close.

By Christina Lorey

November 7, 2022

Pick a metric, any metric. Economic growth. Job creation. Reducing the deficit. Raising household incomes…

By nearly every objective measure, Democrats manage the economy better than Republicans. 

Let’s start with the most obvious: The US has had 17 recessions over the past 100 years. Thirteen began under Republican presidents, including the four largest: the Great Depression and the recessions of 1981, 2007, and 2020. The most recent recession under a Democratic president happened more than 40 years ago, in the final year of Jimmy Carter’s term.

Source The Democratic Party

Now, let’s look into the other measures:

Source The New York Times

Economic Growth

Democratic Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton logged the biggest growth in gross domestic product in the past century. Three of the four presidents who oversaw the smallest GDP growth were Republicans George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. The exception was Harry Truman.

Job Creation

The six presidents with the fastest job growth rates were all Democrats: Roosevelt, Johnson, Carter, Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton. The four slowest were all Republicans: Eisenhower, both Bushes, and in last place, Trump. Trump was also the first president in 90 years to lose more jobs than he created.

Reducing the Deficit

Republican President Ronald Reagan inherited a deficit of $79 billion from Democrat Jimmy Carter. Since then, the deficit has grown under every Republican and shrunk under every Democrat. Look at the numbers from when each president left office:

  • Carter: $79 billion
  • Reagan: $153 billion
  • H.W. Bush: $255 billion
  • Clinton: $236 billion
  • W. Bush: $1.41 trillion
  • Obama: $584 billion
  • Trump: $3.1 trillion
  • Biden (present): $2.8 trillion

Raising Household Incomes

The median household income declines under every Republican presidency. Incomes jumped steeply under Clinton, fell during George W. Bush’s first term, and rose during his second, before falling hard his final year. They kept falling through Obama’s first term before rising significantly during his second. Obama’s increase in median household income continued under Trump, but once adjusted for inflation, it started falling halfway through Trump’s final year in office. 

The Stock Market

Let’s look at the last five presidents: the smallest measures of growth and the only measure of decline happened under Republicans.

  • H.W. Bush: Up 36%
  • Clinton: Up 226%
  • W. Bush: Down 23.7%
  • Obama: Up 145%
  • Trump: Up 37%


Under President Biden’s leadership, Democrats have grown the economy three times faster than when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House. The Biden administration has also created 9.5 million jobs – five times as many than created under the last three Republican Presidents combined.  

The economy is a top concern for voters in 2022. Share this information to help others make informed decisions at the ballot box.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.



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