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Social Media Post Shares Misleading Claims About Jobs Numbers and Recessions
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Social Media Post Shares Misleading Claims About Jobs Numbers and Recessions

Suggesting that 15.6 million jobs have been created during Biden’s presidency leaves out important context.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow Democrats speak to reporters in the spin room aftr the CNN debate between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump on June 27, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

A trending post on Facebook from Occupy Democrats cites California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s claim that “15.6 million jobs were created under Biden,” amounting to “8 times more than the last 3 Republican Presidents combined.” Newsom, who made the claim after last week’s presidential debate between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, added that the “only thing that the last 3 Republican Presidents have in common is recessions.”

This post by Occupy Democrats requires context and is somewhat misleading.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED), since January 2021, non-farm employment has increased by 15.63 million under the Biden administration, which makes the claim technically true. However, it leaves out the context that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the U.S. economy to lose about 20.48 million non-farm jobs between March and April of 2020.  

As mentioned in a previous Dispatch Fact Check:

Biden’s employment growth numbers benefit from the fact that he took over as president when employment was in a deep but temporary valley. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated that the economy lost 21.4 million jobs in March and April of 2020 due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and when Biden took office the country still had almost 9.4 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic. When compared to employment trends before the pandemic, however, only about 6.2 million jobs have been added to the economy on net during Biden’s time in office.”

The non-farm employment data from FRED shows that under President George H.W. Bush the economy added 2.63 million jobs; under President George W. Bush the economy added about 1.37 million jobs; and under President Trump, the economy lost about 2.72 million jobs as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, technically, the last three Republican presidents have added about 1.28 million in non-farm employment to the U.S. economy.

If only Biden’s net amount of non-farm employment numbers are used (6.2 million jobs), it’s clear that Biden has created only about 4.8 times the number of jobs than the last three Republican presidents combined, not eight times.

It is true that the United States experienced recessions under Trump and both Bushes, but this claim also lacks context. The economy was indeed in recession from August 1990 to March 1991 under George H.W. Bush. While George W. Bush was president, there was a recession from March 2001 to November 2001, which was largely attributed to the burst of the dot-com bubble, and from January 2008 to June 2009. Under Donald Trump, there was a brief recession from March to April 2020 caused by the pandemic and its attendant lockdowns. It was the shortest recession ever recorded.

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Max Whalen is an intern at The Dispatch, based in Washington, D.C. A rising junior at Cornell University, he serves as the editor-in-chief of the Cornell Review. When Max is not keeping up with the headlines, you can probably find him listening to the Rolling Stones or rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks.