The lighter color shows job losses/gains in the overall economy, the darker color reflects just the private sector.
I love Steve Benen. His post at The Maddow Blog needs to be read in full, but here's a sample:
[N]ote that the economy added jobs in President Obama's second year, which is more than we can say for his Republican predecessor. In Obama's third year, 2011, more private sector jobs were created than in seven of the eight years Bush was in the White House.
Even this year, after just five months, some of which have been far from adequate, the economy has added more jobs than in Bush's first three years in office combined.
And that is exactly whats the GOP wants: Government shrinkage, or as any sane person calls it, firing government workers. Which of course means firing employed people who bring home paychecks that are used to pay for things, which, in turn, boost the economy.
...Which would make the president look good, which is what Republicans are doing everything in their power to prevent.
My favorite line, though, was this:
By contemporary Republican standards, this means Bush was a far more effective big-government socialist than Obama.
Just now on Twitter, I was asked, "Do you dislike this country so much you'd re-elect President Obama, down a socialist way of life?" Actually, yes. Of course, I reminded the ignoramus that he uses our freeways, police and fire departments, and whatever else I could squeeze into 140 characters. I'm pretty sure if he has parents or grandparents, they're taking advantage of Social Security and/or Medicare. Maybe he himself is.
But I also "dislike this country so much" that I'd re-elect President Obama because he's helping the economy grow, whereas if Willard Romney were to somehow get into the White House, we'd go right back to those red bars in Benen's chart.