On November 30, following Donald Trump’s deal with Carrier, White House press secretary Josh Earnest claimed, “There were 805,000 manufacturing jobs that weren’t just protected or saved, but actually created while President Obama was in office.”
Earnest argued that if Trump had saved 1,000 jobs, he would need to do it 804 more times to “meet the record of manufacturing jobs that were created in the United States while President Obama was in office.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 12.561 million manufacturing jobs in January 2009, but only 12.26 million manufacturing jobs last month.
Earnest, or whoever did his math for him, started his count from February 2010; 11.453 million, 1.1 million fewer than January 2009, and roughly 2.3 million fewer than when the Great Recession hit in December 2007.
Thus the 807,000 jobs Earnest referred to are the difference between the low point in Obama’s term and the present.
A White House official protested, “The President inherited an economy that was shedding manufacturing jobs at an alarming rate. The recession wiped out more than 2 million manufacturing jobs, devastating communities. The point Josh was making is that we inherited a manufacturing sector in decline, and in part due to policies this president enacted, the sector has turned around.”
As The Washington Post reports:
The White House argues that the record under Obama represents a real turnaround, because in the previous expansion (December 2001-December 2007), some 2 million manufacturing jobs were lost — and in fact there was no 12-month period during the last expansion where the manufacturing sector added jobs . . . Earnest clearly left the impression that during Obama’s presidency, the number of manufacturing jobs increased by more than 800,000. But actually, the number of jobs has fallen by 300,000.