Time to fact check the Democratic leadership's claims on job growth, given the smoke bombs being set off in this debate as the midterm elections loom.
First, the data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a press release on the new unemployment numbers showing U.S. employers made a net cut of 54,000 jobs in August, aggravated by the loss of 114,000 Census worker jobs.
The unemployment rate, calculated using a separate household survey, edged up to 9.6% from 9.5% as more job seekers entered the labor force, versus the peak of 10.1% in October 2009. July payrolls were revised to a loss of 54,000 from an original estimate of a 131,000 drop.
Private-sector companies added 67,000 jobs, following an upwardly revised 107,000 gain in July. Manufacturers shed 27,000 jobs, after adding 34,000 the previous month.
Economists now attribute a chunk of the decline in the jobless rate to 9.6% to the net 1.4 million people who left the labor force since May. Add in 1.4 million people, and the jobless rate zooms higher to 10.3%, says Miller Tabak strategist Dan Greenhaus.
Deutsche Bankalso says the private sector created a net total of 689,000 jobs since November 2009, the point when the jobs picture turned positive. That 689,000 is anemic compared to the8.5 million private jobs lost in the downturn, Deutsche says, noting too thatmonthly private sector job creation is trending down. The Administration says stimulus enacted in February 2009 created or saved 3.4 million jobs--2.35 million jobs were lost since stimulus passed. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says without stimulus, "we would have two and a half to three million fewer jobs," and the unemployment ratewould be 11.5%. The White Housesaid stimulus would drive the unemployment rate down below 8.5%. The government has added more than $3 trillion in debt in two years--14.9 million are still without jobs.
Now to fact checking the claims—Fox News analyst James Farrell has a go at it:
“We will have job growthof 250,000 to 500,000 a month.”
- Claim: In an April 23, 2010 fundraiser, Vice President Joseph Biden stated "Well, I'm here to tell you some time in the next couple of months we're going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month."
FBN Fact check: What today's BLS employment release stated: "Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed(-54,000) in August."
"Automotive workers worked through the 'summer shutdown.'"
- Claim:In the July 2010 report titled "Rebuilding the Auto Industry," the administration claimed that "2010 is on track to be the strongest year of job growthin the auto industry since 1999.” To highlight the job growth, the report highlighted "the recent experience of the big three automakers" of "Working through the Summer Shutdown: Nine of GM’s eleven manufacturing and assembly plants, including Hamtramck, skipped the customary summer plant shutdown to meet growing consumer demand."
FBN Fact check: The latest employment release from the BLS indicates that automotive job numbers were inflated in July because workers did not "work through the Summer shutdown" – instead the timing of the "Summer shutdown" was adjusted to fall in August: "A decline in motor vehiclesand parts (-22,000) offset a gain of similar magnitude in July as the industry departed somewhat from its usual layoff and recall pattern for annual retooling."
"Health care jobs will boom after Obamacare is signed."
- Claim: On February 25, 2010, in discussing Obamacare, House Speaker Nancy Pelosistated: "So this bill is not only about the health security of America. It's about jobs. In its life it will create four million jobs -- 400,000 jobs almost immediately; jobs, again, in the health care industry, but in the entrepreneurial world as well."
FBN Fact check: What today's BLS employment release stated: "Thus far in 2010, the health care industry has added an average of 20,000 jobs per month, about in line with the average monthly job growth in 2009."
"Construction employment will increase during the 'Summer of Recovery.'"
-Claim: In a June 2010 report touting the "Summer of Recovery," Vice President Biden wrote: "As summer construction season kicks into high gear, commitments made late last year to infrastructure investments will transition from committed dollars into tangible action—thousands of projects will break ground and thousands more will increase activity and hiring."
FBN Fact check: The latest BLS employment release says that construction employmentwas in fact up by an estimated 19,000 in August, which seems like an improvement. But the BLS says this change partially reflected the return to payrolls of 10,000 [construction] workers who were on strike in July." So, the Vice President's claim might have been true, if Chicago construction workers had not gone on strike and delayed state and local construction projects. The workers went on strike to secure a 3.25% pay increase each year for the next three years --which the union workers said was necessitated by the rising costs of their health insurance premiums, the same rising premiums that health reform was supposed to drive down.