“State of the Jobs” Address
Note: 1st in a series on President Obama’s job creation record
<=== Previous || Next ==>
——————————————————————————————————————————–Job creation is the #1 issue in campaign 2012.
President Obama thought it politically so important that a chart showing his record of job creation is included in the White House link to a video of the State of the Union Address.
In the tradition of Politifact, if you dig deeper you’ll find the President greatly exaggerated his job creation record.
The President cherry picked his data to make his record of job creation look FAR better than it really is.
For assessing the State of the Union, President Obama left out crucial data for an accurate judgement.
What President Obama Said
In the State of the Union (SOTU) the President made this claim about job creation:
In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. (Applause)
Where, exactly, did the “more than 3 million jobs” figure come from?
The use of the word “businesses” is germane to the President’s misrepresentation of job growth.
The President’s Data Source
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a branch of the U.S. Labor Department. It provides several important ways to show general job creation statistics. Among them are:
- Total Private-Sector Employment (about 110 million employed)
- Total Non-Farm Employment (about 132 million employed)
- Total Employment over age 16 (about 140 million employed)
Of those ways the BLS lists the data two fundamentally different ways:
- Seasonally adjusted by month
- Not seasonally adjusted by month
Therefore, the BLS provides at least 6 different ways to present general job creation statistics.
Not surprisingly, the largest number of jobs listed is for total employment. The smallest is for private-sector employment.
It takes data forensics to precisely identify, but the President chose seasonally adjusted total private-sector employment to highlight his accomplishments, not the much larger total employment.
Widely varying BLS statistics
Looking at the 6 different ways the BLS lists general job creation statistics you will find an astounding difference in results.
For example… for total private-sector employment, not seasonally adjusted, you will discover the BLS shows there are 5.4 MILLION jobs created instead of just the 3 million jobs claimed by the President over the same time frame. That is much, MUCH more!
You will also discover that for total employment over age 16, seasonably adjusted, that the total number of jobs created over the same time frame is 2.1 MILLION jobs.
The other categories are all over the map.
Though heartening that all show growth, which number is right? What makes sense?
Private-Sector vs. Total Employment
The President’s election year SOTU chart shows a very steady improvement in job creation starting the very month he took office… isn’t that politically special?
If generally true in the total economy it would be very, VERY meaningful. Unfortunately, it is not true.
Also, picking private-sector employment to highlight his accomplishments is not only misleading, but counter-intuitive to the “stimulus” bill the President himself credits for his success!
The Real Numbers Speak!
Total Employment Over Age 16
This chart is like the one in President Obama’s State of the Union address shown in the first graphic.
The only difference is it shows total employment over age 16, not just private-sector growth. This chart presents a much different and more accurate view of job growth than does the other one.
As you can see… it paints an entirely different portrait.
Private-sector jobs only represents about 2/3rds of the nation’s total job picture.
This chart shows two startling differences from the President’s:
- There has been only 2.1 million total jobs created in the last 22 months
- There has NOT been 22 continuous months of total job growth
The Clinton Standard
President Bill Clinton is much praised for creating 18.4 million jobs at a 2.3 million per year clip during his 8-year term. The above chart shows that achievement in annual job growth statistics.
Clinton’s numbers are correctly based on total employment over age 16, not private-sector growth.
Clinton’s accomplishment would be much less impressive if only private-sector job growth were included.
If held to the Clinton standard, as shown on the right, President Obama has created no jobs!
Through no fault of his own, 5.5 million total jobs were lost (annualized) in President Obama’s first year. But in the last two years, after his economic policies were fully implemented, there has been a net LOSS of 8,000 more total jobs.
President Obama specifically cherry picked private-sector job growth to highlight in the State of the Union because it makes his record look far better than it really is.
The great irony of the President’s choice is that over the last three years the 2009 “stimulus” recovery package, ARRA, is responsible for virtually zero direct private-sector job growth.
At the government’s own Recovery.gov web site, you find that the vast majority of jobs “created or saved” were “saved” public-sector jobs. By far, the biggest chunk of “stimulus” jobs saved were 330,000 existing teachers for a two and a half year period.
Most private-sector jobs created under ARRA were temporary “shovel ready” construction jobs that disappeared when the money ran out.
ARRA, however, did not create jobs. That is why, in the last two years, there has been a net loss of 8,000 more jobs.
The good news, though, is we really have turned the corner. The President’s private-sector job growth figures prove that recovery is under way.
Total jobs hit their nadir in 2010. There was a net gain of about 805,000 total jobs in 2011. That overcame large 2011 public-sector job losses at all levels – federal, state and local.
As the economy continues to sputter back to life, public-sector jobs will start coming back to.
All of that growth will have little to do with government policy. Government action is tapped out. The private-sector is leading the charge.
The private-sector is who we should have applauded at the State of the Union!