End the duopoly

Trump’s Economic Falsehoods

President Donald Trump rattled off several false claims in his Nov. 12 speech to the Economic Club of New York, in which he contrasted the supposedly “bleak” outlook at the end of his predecessor’s term with an exaggerated portrayal of the economy’s strong performance during his own tenure.

He said that when he was running for president in 2016 “America was stuck in a failed recovery and saddled with a bleak economic future. And it was bleak.” But as we wrote at the time he took office, “President Trump actually inherits an economy experiencing steady if unspectacular growth in output, jobs and incomes.” We noted that the economy had added 2.2 million jobs in the 12 months before Trump took office. That was later revised upward to nearly 2.5 million.

In his speech, Trump said: “Under the last administration, nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost.” That’s true enough; the loss was 193,000. But the number of manufacturing jobs had increased by more than 900,000 between the low point early in Barack Obama’s first term and the time Trump took office. And Trump failed to mention that total employment grew by 11.6 million under Obama.

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Trump claimed that under Obama, “almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force.” Not true. In fact, the civilian labor force grew by nearly 5.5 million under Obama.

The president said that “jobs were not exactly what you would call plentiful” under Obama. That’s also far from true. In March 2016 the number of unfilled job openings hit 6.1 million, the highest in the more than 15 years records had been kept. And when Trump took office, the number of unfilled jobs was still 5.6 million.

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