In an ad titled “Another Month,” Restore Our Future mashes up news headlines and video clips of President Obama to paint a misleading picture of the economy. In reality, the private sector has gained 4.5 million jobs over the last 29 consecutive months of growth, including 172,000 in July. While the continuing decline in government employment has slowed the recovery, the economic situation has improved significantly since Obama inherited an economy that was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month in early 2009. That turnaround was aided by the Recovery Act, which helped stave off a deeper collapse, created jobs, and cut taxes for millions of working Americans.
“Another Month”: The Private Sector Has Added 4.5 Million Jobs Over 29 Consecutive Months Of Growth
The Private Sector Gained 172,000 Jobs In July, The 29th Consecutive Month Of Growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private sector added 172,000 jobs in July. Government payrolls declined by 9,000 employees, resulting in a net gain of 163,000 jobs for the month. The following chart shows the monthly change in private-sector jobs dating back to January 2008:
Under Obama, Massive Monthly Job Losses Have Turned Into Steady Private-Sector Growth
Recession Officially Ran From December 2007 To June 2009, Making It The Longest Since World War II. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months. In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [NBER.org, 9/20/10]
- Recession Resulted In 8.3 Million Job Losses. According to the Associated Press, “the Great Recession killed 8.3 million jobs, compared with 1.6 million lost in the 2001 recession.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 5/4/12]
Bush Recession Was So Severe That Economy Was Still Shedding Over Three-Quarters Of A Million Jobs Per Month Through First Few Months Of President Obama’s Term. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy shed 839,000 jobs in January 2009, 725,000 in February 2009, 787,000 in March 2009, and 802,000 in April 2009, for a four-month average of 788,250 lost jobs per month. [BLS.gov, accessed 5/3/12]
Since The Recession Ended In June 2009, The Private Sector Has Added 3.3 Million Jobs While Public-Sector Employment Has Fallen By Over 640,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 107,933,000 private-sector jobs in June 2009, and 111,317,000 private-sector jobs in July 2012, an increase of 3,384,000 jobs. The BLS also reports that there were 22,570,000 Americans working in the public sector in June 2009, and 21,928,000 working in the public sector in July 2012, a decrease of 642,000 jobs. The private-sector gains and public-sector losses add up to a total increase of 2,742,000 jobs.
The following chart shows the cumulative private-sector job gains and public-sector job losses since the recession officially ended in June 2009:
“Doing Fine” Statement Referred To Public-Sector Losses Dragging Down The Recovery
Obama: “Where We’re Seeing Weaknesses In Our Economy Have To Do With State And Local Government.” From a transcript of an exchange between President Obama and a reporter:
Q What about the Republicans saying that you’re blaming the Europeans for the failures of your own policies?
THE PRESIDENT: The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.
And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry. Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more. [WhiteHouse.gov, 6/8/12]
- Obama Clarified That He Didn’t Mean The Economy At Large Is “Doing Fine.” From the Huffington Post: “The president sought to clarify his remarks later Friday, saying it is ‘absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine.’ He continued, ‘That’s the reason I had a press conference. That’s why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this past month and this past year talking about how we can make the economy stronger. The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak, too many homes underwater and that’s precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that can make a difference.’” [HuffingtonPost.com, 6/8/12]
The Facts Back Up Obama’s Statement. From the Huffington Post: “Obama’s comments about jobs growth have some bearing. The economy has gained about 4.2 million private sector jobs since early 2010, putting payroll at about the same level as it was in January 2009. Since Obama took office, about 607,000 fewer people work in the public sector. State and local governments, unlike the federal government, generally have to balance their budgets, and with fewer revenues, spending cuts have forced layoffs.” [HuffingtonPost.com, 6/8/12]
- Conservative AEI: The Public Sector Is Shrinking, But Private-Sector Growth Is Above Average. From American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark J. Perry: “In the second quarter of 2012, ‘public sector GDP’ decreased -1.44%, and that was the eighth straight quarter of negative growth for total government spending, averaging -2.88% per quarter over the last two years. In contrast, there have been 12 consecutive quarters of positive growth for private sector GDP averaging 3.07% per quarter in the three years since the recession ended, which is slightly higher than the 2.8% average growth rate in private real GDP over the last 25 years.” [AEI-Ideas.org, 7/31/12]
- GOP-Favored “Government Downsizing” Has Been “A Drag” On Job Growth. From the Associated Press: “Conservative Republicans have long clamored for government downsizing. They’re starting to get it — by default. Crippled by plunging tax revenues, state and local governments have shed over a half million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. And, after adding jobs early in the downturn, the federal government is now cutting them as well. States cut 49,000 jobs over the past year and localities 210,000, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics. There are 30,000 fewer federal workers now than a year ago — including 5,300 Postal Service jobs canceled last month. By contrast, private-sector jobs have increased by 1.6 million over the past 12 months. But the state, local and federal job losses have become a drag on efforts to nudge the nation’s unemployment rate down from its painfully high 9.1 percent.” [Associated Press, 10/25/11]
The Recovery Act Created Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes
Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [CBPP.org, 5/29/12]
At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:
CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:
- They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
- Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
- Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
- Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO.gov, 11/24/10]
Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [PolitiFact.com, 2/17/10]
[NARRATOR:] Another month, even more Americans jobless. If you had President Obama’s record, what would you do? Would you joke? [PRESIDENT OBAMA CLIP:] “Shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we expected.” [NARRATOR:] Deny reality? [PRESIDENT OBAMA:] “We tried our plan and it worked.” [NARRATOR:] Even insist – [PRESIDENT OBAMA:] “The private sector is doing fine.” [NARRATOR:] Or do what Obama’s allies are doing now – launch shameful, dishonest attacks. With no record to run on, it’s the only strategy Obama has left. [Restore Our Future via YouTube.com, 8/13/12]