Regardless of what the May jobs numbers were - they weren't nearly as bad as the conservatives and Republicans said they were - the clear fact is that right now, everyone interested in the 2012 Presidential race wants to compare the job creation abilities of President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Unfortunately, there's no exact comparison betwen the efforts of the two men - and as several knowledgable people have noted, including Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod, and journalists Steve Benen and Greg Sargent - the Romney campaign has hypocriticaly been attempting to use a double standard in how they judge the job creation abilities of their candidate and the President.
Without hypocrisy, let's look at the job creation records and the context of each man.
One of the best quick comparisons on just the most basic jobs numbers was put together recently by Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast, from data supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As Tomasky notes, neither Obama or Romney has sterling job creation record, when you look at just the numbers, from the BLS.
As the BLS chart shows, Mitt Romney lost 44,700 jobs during his first year as Governor of Massachusets, but gained back 20,500 jobs during his second year, and 24,700 in his third year. Finally, in Romney's fourth year, he added another 40,700 jobs, for a four year net job creation total of 40,700 jobs. That finish, as noted elsewher, put Mr. Romney's total net job creation record at 47th in the nation, only ahead of Michigan, Ohio, and a Katrina-battered Louisiana.
As Tomasky also notes, it's not really fair to start counting Romney's jobs numbers from his first day in office. After all, his policies had yet to be in place. So, using "Bartellian" measurement - where Presidents and Governors are given one year to have their policies kick in - 64,500 jobs can be credited to Mr. Romney, for a job creation rate of 1.9%.
With those figures in mind, we can now take a direct comparison to President Obama's job creation numbers from the BLS.
As Tomasky also notes, Obama's chart starts ugly, much like Romney's did. From January 2009 through February 2010, 4.59 million jobs were lost under President Obama, with the largest job losses coming in the first six months of Obama's tenure - as you can see in this chart from the CBPP:
However, if we judge Obama like we did Romney, using the "Bartellian" method, that gives Obama a net 3.635 million jobs created, and a job creation rate of 2.35%. That compares to Romney's 1.9% job creation growth rate.
Unlike Mr. Romney, though, President Obama inherited the worst jobs loss in American history, since the Great Depression.
In short, if we compare the job creation records of Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney, side-by-side, as Steve Benen notes when pointing out Romney's hypocrisy on job creation:
"...what's President Obama's defense on the economy? He inherited a disaster but helped turn things around. After one term, conditions weren't excellent, but they showed clear improvement after four years. An economy that was losing jobs was, finally, adding jobs.
And what's Romney's defense of his jobs record in Massachusetts? He inherited a mess but helped turn things around. After one term, conditions weren't excellent, but they showed clear improvement after four years. An economy that was losing jobs was, finally, adding jobs.
But the key is that President Obama's job creation rate was 2.35%. Romney's was only 1.9%.
The answer on who is better on job creation is simple: President Barack Obama.