American workers want their next president to stop the flow of manufacturing employment offshore and bring "good-paying jobs" back to the U.S.
So are they better off voting for a Democrat or a Republican?
As the campaign moves through the party nomination phase, those voters will be sizing up the two major candidates, in part, based on how well their respective parties have done in creating enough jobs to offset a half-century decline in the American middle class.
To better assess those records, CNBC.com analyzed the economic performance of the last six presidents using a variety of measures, calculating the impact of each president's term, beginning with Jimmy Carter.
Those years spanned a period of major transformation in the global economy and an expansion of world trade driven by a host of factors that include everything from lower tariffs and internet-driven supply chains to expanded airline capacity and containerized cargo shipping.
Globalization also meant U.S. markets were open to other countries, and American workers had to compete with cheap offshore labor. One of the biggest single events that opened those floodgates was the North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a unified trade bloc with the two biggest U.S. trade partners, Mexico and Canada.