I was thumbing through the raw data on employment, using the non-farm payroll data that is commonly cited. When the current president was sworn in, we had 133.56 million jobs. As of June's data, we're at 133.09 million, a net loss of 473,000 jobs.
As far as employment goes, we're not quite back to where we started from in 2009, let alone the 138 million level we hit in August 2008 before the fecal matter hit the air redirection system on Wall Street that fall. We're still 5 million shy of getting back to that level, but we're close to where Obama picked up at.
Granted, Obama was dealt a lousy hand to start a term with; the housing market still hasn't found its sea legs and Europe is a mess. However, the policies he's been able to implement haven't made a major dent in unemployment; we still have five million fewer people at work than the summer of 2008.
The lion share of that is thanks to Wall Street, and both parties can take a bow for that screw-up, from overuse of adjustable-rate loans and loose lending practices, especially to encourage minority borrowing. However, whatever Obama has done hasn't helped, or at least didn't help enough to do make a major dent.
The one argument I could make on the administration's behalf is that the negatives of the "Affordable Care Act" are largely factored in, as firms see higher costs of labor on the horizon and are acting accordingly. The benefits of the law that might encourage job growth (easier access to health care for the self-employed, thus encouraging more new businesses to start) won't kick in until the law does in 2014.
However, the costs will kick in as well, so any benefit from being free to start your own business without having to worry about your insurance will be offset by people being forced to start their own business due to being laid off. Thus, a second Obama term would likely be one of economic stagnation, but seeing the upside of less worries about healthcare, assuming the system works reasonably well to get Joe Sixpack covered.
That's a big assumption, but it's one that swing voters would have to accept in order to economically make sense of an Obama vote this fall.