President Misinforms on Economy, Again
It’s nitpicking, but the President started off his weekly Saturday address this morning with two more errors about the economy while speaking.
It’s a worthy nitpick because, once again, it shows how much in denial President Obama remains about jobs and the economy. Its not the first time he has done it. He has been doing it since the day he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) Act in February 2009.
Error One: 250,000 new jobs
In the first error, President Obama implied the economy created “nearly 250,000 new jobs” last month. It didn’t. As always, he didn’t lie, but the President exaggerated the truth.
According to the BLS on Friday, official job growth was +236,000. That number is total nonfarm job growth.
The President doesn’t use the BLS’s official figure. He uses private-sector job growth instead. It’s a subset of total nonfarm jobs. Total private-sector growth was +246,000.
Why use private-sector? Because since the President started campaigning for a 2nd term in earnest starting at the 2011 State of the Union Address he’s abandoned using the official job creation number. He changed because total private-sector job growth was higher and had more months in a row of positive growth.
You have to give the President credit, though. He is consistent. Will he continue to be consistent when overall job growth eventually gets more than private-sector job growth?
Error Two: 7.7% Unemployment lower than before Obama assumed office
Its close, but wrong. Yesterday it was announced the unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% to 7.7%. The month Obama took office, according to the BLS, the January 2009 unemployment rate rose to 7.6%. That was announced on February 6th, 2009.
The unemployment rate didn’t get above 7.7% until the next month which was reported on March 6th, 2009 when it shot up to 8.1%.
This mistake is meaningful two ways:
- Obama claims to have improved the economy over what it was when he entered office
- It revises 2009 history
To claim unemployment is below what it was when he entered office is to claim his Administration turned it around. It didn’t. The private-sector is doing that, not government policy. That is what makes Obama quoting private-sector job growth especially misleading.
Back in January/February 2009 the main talking point by President Obama was the promise that if ARRA got passed unemployment would not go above 8%. ARRA was passed and signed into law on February 17, 2009. The President has conveniently forgot about that.
In themselves, President Obama’s two most recent errors today don’t mean much.
But President Obama has a long established pattern of minimizing the state of the economy for political gain. He’s been doing it for nearly 4 years now; month after month and speech after speech.
As long as the President continues his cavalier attitude toward the true state of the economy, he will not take it seriously enough to fix it.