President Biden was dinged by the Washington Post’s fact-checker with two “Pinnochios” on Tuesday after he claimed he had the strongest manufacturing jobs record of any modern president.
“Right now, I have the strongest record of growing manufacturing jobs in modern history. And by making real investments in American workers and industry, the Inflation Reduction Act will keep that momentum going.” Biden wrote in a Sept. 10 tweet.
Noting economic forces beyond control of the president, the Post’s Glenn Kessler expressed wariness of the claim, asserting that metrics about job creation by presidential term are often misleading, although often touted by presidents and the public. He gave the
Initially, Kessler assumed the comment was in relation to the coronavirus, but that would not make much sense. The U.S. just two months ago returned to pre-pandemic levels of manufacturing. In February, the number of manufacturing jobs sat at 560,000, below the same level a year earlier. This indicated that more than 800,000 jobs had been regained prior to former President Trump’s departure from the White House.
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“But major relief packages were also passed under Trump, illustrating why it’s so hard to credit any single president for job gains under his watch. About 525,000 of the restored jobs came after passage of Biden’s COVID relief bill, smaller than the number recovered under Trump,” Kessler wrote.
Under the current president, about 630,000 manufacturing jobs have been added from February 2020 to August 2021. This record would not be the greatest in “modern history,” since it was topped by Richard Nixon.
However, the White House revealed this metric was not the one they were using at all to back up Biden’s claim. Instead, it was looking at monthly job-creation averages over the entire duration of his presidency. This metric gives Biden a largely unfair advantage, since he has served less than two years, while Trump served four and Obama served eight. His shorter time in office means he has fewer months to divide over, and the next two years could bring that average way down, which is likely why the tweet includes the phrase “right now” as a caveat.
“In this case, comparing the monthly manufacturing jobs records of presidents who served four years and eight years with Biden’s 19 months is as silly as Trump’s unemployment claim during his 2020 State of the Union address. The tweet mitigated the claim somewhat with the phrase ‘right now’ — acknowledging that it could change — but it’s still a misleading metric even if the numbers add up,” Kessler concluded.
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It is important to note, as Kessler pointed out, that Trump also used the same terminology during his 2020 State of the Union address, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit and destroyed his monthly average.
“Incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country,” he said at the time.
Earlier this year, Biden was hit twice with a three Pinnochios rating after repeating his claim that Republicans want to raise taxes. The president was also awarded four Pinnochios for falsely claiming he was arrested during a civil rights protest, and another four Pinnochios for a claiming that the new Georgia voting law ended voting hours early.