In a recent interview, self-described democratic socialist and congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pontificated about the reason for the low unemployment rate, warranting a response from Politifact.
In the interview with PBS, Ocasio-Cortez claimed unemployment is low because “everyone has two jobs” and “people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family."
Politifact gave this statement a “pants on fire” rating.
“In our review, we found many reasons why unemployment is low, and not for the overwork that Ocasio-Cortez cited,” the article wrote. “The biggest factors include strong economic confidence and the long-running economic recovery.”
Politifact then cited the Department of Labor including a statistic that only six to seven million people have multiple jobs compared to 148 million Americans who only have one job. They added, “So by the official statistics, multiple job holders account for a tiny fraction of American workers.”
The article also pointed out that this disparity is not unusual and has remained nearly the same since the recovery from the Great Recession.
Politifact then disproved Ocasio-Cortez’s statement that Americans are working far more than the typical 40-hour week. “This assertion is equally dubious,” the article states. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down its count of people with multiple jobs into three categories: people working one full-time job and one part-time job; people with two part-time jobs; and people working two full-time jobs.”
Politifact pointed out that only 310,000 out of 150 million Americans are currently working 70 or 80 hours a week.
“It’s also worth noting that on average, Americans aren’t working more today than they have been in the recent past,” the article continued. “The average number of hours worked in the private sector has hugged tightly to about 34.5 hours a week since 2006, except for a dip during the Great Recession.”
“We rate the statement Pants on Fire,” the article concluded.
Ocasio-Cortez has gained massive amounts of media attention for her primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley, a Democrat in a leadership position for the House Democratic Caucus.