Trump recently claimed that he was responsible for the creation of 600,000 jobs since he took office 100 days ago.Yes? No? Maybe so?
First, here's a chart that shows how Trump stacks up against Obama and George W Bush in terms of PRIVATE sector jobs. It shows total private sector jobs from the prior peak of jobs under W back in early 2008, down through the Recession, and back up under Obama, so far continuing under Trump, as of the data available from March 2017:
|Private jobs added over the past 9 years including those added during the young Trump administration|
About two weeks ago, on April 11th, just a few days after the March jobs numbers were published, Trump insisted that he was responsible for the creation of 600,000 new jobs since he was inaugurated back in January.
CNN and several other venues called him on it and made it clear that this was not true. CNN gave Trump credit for the 317,000 new jobs reported in February (219,000) and March (98,000). But even CNN got things a bit wrong. CNN wrote:
A White House spokesman said Trump is including all the job added in January as well (216,000). Trump was only in office for 11.5 days that month.
But even if you give him all of the gains for January, that still only brings the tally to 533,000 jobs created so far in 2017.
The math doesn't quite add up to 600,000.
Does anyone in the White House know how the BLS counts jobs? Does anyone from CNN know how the BLS counts jobs?
CNN counted the net jobs added by employers and reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics during February and March. Those numbers do add up to 317,000. (Remember that all jobs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are NET jobs: Jobs added after all jobs that were lost are subtracted and vice verse.)
One big problem with that though: Jobs numbers are reported as of the week of the previous month that contains the 12th day of that month. So January 2017 jobs numbers reflect jobs in the country as of the week of January 12, 2017. And who was President on January 12, 2017? Yeah.. A guy named Barack Obama. So not one blessed job that was reported in January 2017 belongs in the Trump column! Even CNN talked about a fraction of the jobs added in January as though they might belong in Trump's column.. but that's just plain wrong.
But, but, but.. all of those new jobs Trump is talking about!
Trump was also claiming that the new hires promised by corporations such as Ford, etc., should be attributed to him. But let's remember that, when you back away from NET jobs, employers in the United States ACTUALLY added a GROSS average of 5.2 million jobs a MONTH in 2016. So there is plenty of room in those 5.2 million jobs for new hires from Ford, GM, ExxonMobil and all the rest to add employees. (Let's not forget that about 1.6 million people a month on average were terminated for various reasons in 2016 and about 3.1 million people a month quit their jobs voluntarily for various reasons in 2016.)
We'll have to watch Trump's jobs claims very carefully. Two things are definitely true about Trump:
- He lies; his staff lies, and they all lie some more.
- He doesn't have any idea what the jobs reports really show.
And my biggest concern about Trump:
I'm concerned that he will try to cut the staff or the quality control of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and we may wind up not knowing what the jobs numbers really are. Democracy dies in the dark.