Not just a bull market, Obama recovery points to a strong bull economy

After employment data for June showed Barack Obama besting Bill Clinton's record on sustained private sector job creation and June's employment numbers crushing estimates, the DOW rallied to a historical high of over 17,000. To put it in perspective, the day Barack Obama took office in the midst of the greatest recession in (most of) living memory, the DOW lost over 330 points and closed at 7,949.

As you can see in the chart above, the DOW wasn't the only stock index to more than double its value over Obama's presidency. In fact, all three stock indexes economists observe did. The NASDAQ more than tripled its value, going from 1,441 to 4486, and the S&P 500 closed at 1985 on Thursday, nearly 2.5 times its value at closing on January 20, 2009.

stock market under Obama.PNG

The numbers themselves are impressive, but they only scratch the surface of how large a turnaround this is. As much as the media and Right wing wish they could rewrite history, this economy didn't start on the day President Obama was inaugurated. The Bush economic catastrophe continued to pummel the stock market as well as the greater economy for an extended period of time after its choreographers had left office.

To that end, it may be better to compare Thursday's highs to the recession's lows. All indexes closed at their recessionary bottom on March 9, 2009 (DOW at 6507, NASDAQ at 1269 and S&P at 676). Since then, the DOW has nearly tripled its value, as has the S&P 500. The NASDAQ has gone up more than 3.5 fold.

While there was passing mention of the DOW crossing the psychologically important 17,000 mark in the media, the coverage of its perspective and how it was made possible remained largely muted in the wasteland of TV/Cable news. But some print columnists are seeing a strong trend: Market Watch's Paul Farrell predicts that The Great Obama Bull Market, as he calls it, is poised to last into the 2016 elections, or a total of over seven years, twice as long as the average bull market.

While the gains in the market are monumentally significant not just for the financial sector but for millions of Americans who lost all or most of their life savings in the Bush collapse, the markets aren't the only bullish place. Consider a quick summary of yesterday's jobs report:

  • The economy has now gained private sector jobs for 52 months in a row, the longest ever on record, besting even Bill Clinton's previous record of 51 months of sustained private sector job growth.
  • In those 52 months, the economy has added 9.7 million private sector jobs.
  • Adding 288,000 jobs, June not only blew past estimates, it marked 5 consecutive months of over-200,000 job additions for the first time since 1999.
  • In the past year, the stubbornly high long-term unemployment rate has finally begun to drop. The last 12 months saw a 1.4 percentage point drop in unemployment, with fully half of that coming from the previously long-term unemployed finding work.
  • Aggregate hours worked by private sector workers increased at the rate of 4.4% in the last quarter, the strongest such growth in eight years.
  • Average hourly earning increased 2% year-over-year - not phenomenal, but a tad higher than current inflation rates.
  • Consumer confidence is now at its highest since January of 2008, long before most Americans got a clue about the depth of the Bush economic disaster.

These numbers could all have been even better had Republicans not decided to block anything and everything this president wants to do (even if it's things they have previously themselves proposed) and had our media not been a willing co-conspirator in the GOP's grand (but failed) scheme to bring down President Blackenstein.

That's crass, but it's the truth. The truth - and I know I keep repeating it - is that if any white president had accomplished Obama's record on the stock market alone, let alone the rest of the recovery, they would be well on their way to be canonized as a bona fide American saint.

But it is now beyond any reasonable doubt that the economy is shedding its Great Recession shell and that the Obama recovery is bringing new strides to the American economy. The stock market is generally a leading indicator of growth, and that certainly seems to be the case now - with multiple economic indicators pointing not just to a sustained Great Obama Bull Market, but a Great Obama Bull Economy.

Now there's something to celebrate on America's birthday.