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Obama’s 4.5 million jobs claim is a falsehood

Posted: August 14, 2012 at 8:00 am   /   by

Obama is now claiming that he has created 4.5 million new jobs, a claim that is deeply “misleading” at best. (We’re trained not to use the word “lie” when writing about politicians.)

John Lott handles this fallacious claim with a series of hard facts in President Obama, and the Myth About 4.5 Million New Jobs.

Population growth

The first matter is a simple one: New people are entering the job market all the time due to the ongoing growth of population. A certain number of jobs must be added each month just to keep pace with population:

Since the recovery started in July 2009, the working age population has grown by 213,000 people on average each month. Normally about 60 percent of the working age population is working. Thus, it would have been necessary to add about 128,000 jobs each month just to keep the share of the working age population employed from falling.

That means that a minimum of a little over 4.7 million jobs had to be created during the recovery just to keep us treading water.

So that’s Obama’s first problem. Assuming his claim of 4.5 million new jobs is accurate, this would mean that in all this time, we’ve barely treaded water on job creation. Of course, none of this deals with the job losses before the “recovery” started.

Might as well call it a ______

The way Obama deals with those job losses is to pretend they never happened:

That means that a minimum of a little over 4.7 million jobs had to be created during the recovery just to keep us treading water. That growth wouldn’t have done anything to make up for the huge job losses that we had suffered up to that point. In fact, only 2.7 million jobs have been added over that time period – 2 million jobs short of what we needed just to keep from falling further behind.

Understanding these monthly numbers helps provide some perspective to Obama’s claims when the latest unemployment numbers were released: “That means that we’ve now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months — and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year,” the president asserted. Obama doesn’t accept responsibility for job losses up through February 2010, a year after the stimulus was enacted

Lott goes on to point out that “whatever time period that Obama wants to point to, job growth has been extremely sluggish. 200,000 net jobs over 29 months is hardly something to brag about.” But honestly, that lets Obama off the hook too easily for starting his counting one year into his presidency, as if the first year doesn’t exist. That’s extremely mendacious.

Adjusting for population growth and the labor force participation rate (which is a 30-year lows, thus making the U3 unemployment number deceptively low), the picture is a lot less rosy than Obama would like to paint:

During those 22 months of “growth,” only 13 months saw enough job growth to keep up with the increase in population, and most of those increases were quite small.

The 163,000 job uptick in July of this year becomes a net gain of only 47,000 once the population gain is accounted for.


read the rest

If I were president, I would not be able to bring myself to make a job claim that pretends the first year of my presidency didn’t exist. People are dropping out of the labor force (read: giving up even trying to find work) in huge numbers. Job growth is not even keeping up with population growth, let alone making up for the massive job losses of the recession. In that environment, I would not be able to make the claims Obama does and then look at myself in a mirror. In fact, I would think myself a liar if I were to do so.

Whoops, there’s that word.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook


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Obama's 4.5 million jobs claim is a falsehood