Obama Jobs: Fact and Fiction
Note: 4th in a series on President Obama’s job creation record
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——————————————————————————————————————————–President Obama made a major speech on the economy yesterday in Cleveland, Ohio at Cuyahoga Community College.
Everyone expects politicians to exaggerate the truth when campaigning. Voters are not totally naive. Sadly, we now even expect it from President Barack Obama.
That being said, politicians can and should be held accountable for what they say on the campaign trail. The integrity of their leadership can be judged by the integrity of their rhetoric.
An examination of this job creation claim made yesterday by President Obama is informative:
We acted fast. Our economy started growing again six months after I took office and it has continued to grow for the last three years. (Applause.) Our businesses have gone back to basics and created over 4 million jobs in the last 27 months – (applause) – more private sector jobs than were created during the entire seven years before this crisis — in a little over two years. (Applause.)
– President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President on the economy in Cleveland, Ohio, 6/14/2012
The President and the Congress did act fast. Less than a month after Obama’s inauguration ARRA, the “stimulus”, was passed and signed into law on February 17, 2009.
The economy, indeed, started growing 6 months after President Obama took office. The recession was officially declared over in June 2009. Though weak, the United States has had GDP growth every month since that time.
As of today, the BLS private-sector job growth report shows there have been 4.3 million private-sector jobs created over the last 27 months.
It is also true that in the previous 7 years before the crisis started – from December 2000 through December 2007 – there were 4 million private-sector jobs created, even fewer if the 11 months prior to that are included. That implies President Obama created more jobs in a little over two years than George W. Bush created during his entire presidency!
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? However, that is where truth ends and serious deception begins.
Fiction #1: Obama Created More Private-sector Jobs than George W. Bush
Perhaps the greatest deception is President Obama’s implication that in the last 27 months he has created more jobs faster than GW Bush did in his whole presidency.
The deception is made clear in two BLS graphs – one for private-sector job growth (CES0500000001) and the other for overall job growth (LNS12000000)
For his comparison the President uses graph 1. For Bush, Obama conveniently INCLUDES the recession of 2001 that GW inherited at the beginning of his presidency. Obama EXCLUDES the recession of 2008 that he inherited at the beginning of his own term.
President Obama commits two gross statistical errors:
- Crafts special date range comparisons to exaggerate his job creation record
- Picks a subset of total job growth statistics that even further exaggerates his job creation record
The 7-year Bush date range appears to be from December 2000 until December of 2007. Though unspecified, Obama’s claim has to be at or near that date range; otherwise, it can’t be factually correct.
Most deceptive, though, is it includes the period of job loss during the recession of 2001 excluded from Obama’s own date range for himself.
To make a true apples-to-apples comparison then either both recessions should be included or both excluded. Given President Obama’s recession was much deeper, excluding both recessions favors the president.
Under an apples-to-apples scenario there are still 4.3 million private-sector jobs created under Obama, but now under Bush there are 7.1 million jobs created… almost twice as many! As can be seen in graph 1 the slope of both president’s job creation spurts are about equal. That means the speed of job creation was roughly the same for both.
Fiction #2: Actual Obama Job Creation is Well Under 4.3 Million New Jobs
Notice two important comparisons of graph 1 to graph 2:
- Graph 2 has about 30 million more total jobs than graph 1
- The shape pattern of both graphs are otherwise roughly the same
Graph 2 shows total job creation over the same period as graph 1. Graph 1’s private-sector job growth is a subset of the overall job growth picture. That is why graph 2 has about 25% more jobs than graph 1.
The main reason President Obama uses private-sector job statistics instead of total job stats is because public-sector jobs have been on a steady decline since ARRA funding ended. 607,000 jobs have been lost since 2010. Most are state and local teacher and first responder positions. It’s the direct result of less local tax revenues due to a bad economy.
In an apples-to-apples graph 2 comparison, President Obama can now only claim 3.6 million jobs. GW Bush, on the other hand, can claim 10.2 million jobs without jury-rigging anything. That is over 2.5 times more jobs than Barack Obama.
That blows President Obama’s campaign jargon out of the water.
Given factual inaccuracies found in just two little verifiable sentences, how much trust can we put in the rest the President said?
The President could have chosen to be a leader. He could have acknowledged, as is true, that we are teetering precariously on the verge of a double-dip recession. He could have then made a deep and impassioned plea directly to Congress for immediate bipartisan action. He chose not to do that.
Instead, applying faulty election year calculus, candidate Obama chose to deceptively claim 4+ million new jobs created. He then compounded the deception by claiming he created more jobs in two years than “in the previous 7 years” (more than Bush). That is misleading and intellectually dishonest.
Worse yet, it conveys a false sense among voters that the economy is better than it is, thus guaranteeing no serious action will be taken before November.
With a double-whammy of the fiscal cliff and of a bad economy looming in January; we can’t afford to play petty political games until the lame duck Congress in November.
We need to create real jobs NOW. Tens of millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans are depending on it.
Instead of idle election year chatter, we need a president willing to risk his own political fortunes for the good of the nation. To bad we don’t have one.