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TRUTH TEST: What the recent jobs report means for campaigns

6:44 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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Both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama had their own take on the numbers Friday morning on the campaign trail. 9NEWS put both of their statements on jobs to the Truth Test, starting first with Mitt Romney's comments from West Allis, Wis.

Romney: "[Obama] said the unemployment rate would now be at 5.2 percent. Today we learned it's at 7.9 percent. It is 9 million jobs short of what he promised."

This is true. Romney's talking about a study from January 2009 from President Obama's top economists. It was produced by Obama's former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, and Vice President Joe Biden's top economist Jared Bernstein.

The study projected unemployment with and without a stimulus package. A graph from that study predicted the unemployment rate would be right above 5 percent in the fourth quarter of this year. That's if the U.S. got stimulus money, which ultimately happened.

Since then, those economists said they were too optimistic, but they also said job losses would have been deeper without a stimulus.

Romney: "Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office. Think of that. Unemployment today is higher than on the day when Barack Obama took office."

This is true, but, in context. Today's unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. In January 2009, when Barack Obama took office, it was 7.8 percent - a difference of 0.1. Overall, unemployment is down from its high point of 10 percent in October 2009. 

Now for how Mr. Obama talked about the jobs numbers Friday morning in Hilliard, Ohio.

Obama: "Today, our businesses have created nearly five-and-a-half million new jobs. And this morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October, than at any time in the last eight months."

Both of these comments are true, but that nearly 5.5 million jobs figure needs more context. President Obama is repeating a talking point from his campaign that during the past 33 months the U.S. has experienced job creation. March 2010  was 33 months ago.

Before then, under President Obama's tenure, the economy lost more than four million jobs. All told, with Friday's numbers there are 580 thousand more jobs than when President Obama took office.

The bottom line?

Both candidates are not giving the full context of the jobs numbers. They're simply trying to use those numbers for their own advantage.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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