In a new book, Richard J. Carroll lays out an analysis of presidential economic performance since Truman. The results are unambiguous: 

Five out of six Democrats reduced the national debt as a percentage of GDP, while four out of six Republicans raised it. The story is similar on budget deficits, with five of the top six performances recorded by Democrats and four of the bottom five recorded by Republicans. With respect to GDP growth, three of the top four performers were Democrats and four of the bottom five were Republicans. In reducing the poverty rate, the top three were Democrats and two of the bottom three were Republicans. The Democrats also had a better record on employment. Republicans had better records on reducing inflation, achieving four of the top five performances, while Democrats had four of the bottom five showings. Republicans also did well in lowering tax revenue as a percentage of GDP, claiming the top five spots.

How does Obama fare?

When all of the indicators are combined, [Obama] ranks ninth out of 12, one position below Reagan but above Bush 41, Carter and Bush 43.