Press Lets Earnest Claim 805,000 Manufacturing Jobs Gained Under Obama; 303,000 Jobs Have Been Lost

December 1st, 2016 11:56 AM

At Wednesday's White House press briefing, Obama administration Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in a fit of completely unsupported arrogance, claimed that 805,000 jobs have been created "while President Obama was in office," and that "President Obama has set a high standard" in that regard.

The lazy stenographers posing as journalists present at the briefing, along with other reporters covering Carrier Corp.'s decision not to move its Indianapolis manufacturing jobs to Mexico, have failed to recognize what anyone whose job it has been to follow the economy during the Obama administration should know, namely that the economy, through October 2016, has fewer manufacturing jobs now than it did when President Obama took office in January 2009.

Earnest was attempting to downplay Carrier Corp.'s decision to keep roughly 1,000 manufacturing jobs in Indianapolis instead of moving those operations to Mexico. President-Elect Donald Trump expressed outrage during the presidential campaign earlier this year when Carrier announced its intent to move. Both he and Vice President-Elect and current Indiana Governor Mike Pence have been heavily involved in persuading company management to reverse course.

Earnest immaturely — and, as will be seen, utterly incorrectly — claimed that Team Trump needs to be "successful in doing that 804 more times" to "meet the record of manufacturing jobs that were created ... while President Obama was in office."

He made his claim after Reuters White House Correspondent Ayesha Rascoe asked him about the Carrier deal:

Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

AYESHA RASCOE, REUTERS: ... but I was wondering does White House have any thoughts on the strategy that has been employed to maybe lean on a private company to get them to keep jobs in the U.S. Is that a strategy that the White House approves of, that thinks is a good thing to do? I guess I just wanted thoughts on that.

JOSH EARNEST: Well, obviously we haven’t seen the details of the announcement from the company, but we’ll obviously -- or the early indications are that this is good news. And obviously we’d welcome that good news.

I know that the President-elect has indicated that he deserves credit for that announcement. And I guess what I would observe is that if he is successful in doing that 804 more times, then he will meet the record of manufacturing jobs that were created in the United States while President Obama was in office. There were 805,000 manufacturing jobs that weren’t just protected or saved, but actually created while President Obama was in office.

So President Obama has set a high standard, and President-elect Trump can meet that standard if this Carrier deal is completed in the way that he expects that it will be. If he does that 804 more times, then he will have matched the standard established by President Obama -- at least when it comes to manufacturing jobs. The one difference would be that the President-elect is talking about protecting jobs, and the metric I’m using is actually creating jobs.

If you go to protecting jobs, there are more than a million jobs in the industrial Midwest that were saved when President Obama made the decision to rescue the American auto industry. And the long-term benefits of that fateful decision that was not initially popular has yielded a substantial benefit for the entire country, but certainly for the industrial Midwest.

Data from the government's own Bureau of Labor Statistics makes mincemeat of Earnest's manufacturing jobs gained claim:


For years, the Obama administration has pretended that its stewardship over the nation's employment situation began in February 2010 and not January 2009 when the President was first inaugurated. As seen above, this explains why Josh Earnest claimed a gain of 805,000 manufacturing jobs.

But the press secretary said that those jobs were gained "while President Obama was in office," not "after job losses ended." Again as seen above, the economy lost 1.108 million jobs during Obama's first 13 months in office. No other post-downturn economy since World War II has taken as long as the Obama economy did — eight months after the recession officially ended in June 2009 — to see a return to seasonally adjusted job growth. This dismal result occurred because the administration thought that the massive Keynesian stimulus package which became law in February 2009 would bring the economy roaring back — or, as Vice President Joe Biden said at the time, "literally drop kick us out of the recession." It didn't. It was a miserable failure, and its failure is why job losses continued for so long.

Thus, through October of this year, the economy has lost, not gained, 303,000 manufacturing jobs. That's not a "high standard," Josh Earnest.

Earnest's other claim, that the administration's decision to "rescue the auto industry" saved "more than a million jobs in the industrial Midwest" is absolute nonsense.

The press secretary is really referring to its unilateral decisions to bail out General Motors and Chrysler at considerable taxpayer cost while manipulating the bankruptcy process to preserve existing UAW union contracts and to cut out disfavored creditors. These two companies didn't, and obviously still don't, comprise the entire domestic auto industry. They're about one-third of it.

As I noted in 2010, total combined nationwide employment at GM and Chrysler at the time of the bailout was about 180,000. If the two companies had been permitted to go through bankruptcy without government intervention, other makers like Ford, Toyota, Fiat (which bought Chrysler anyway) and others would have sorted through the rubble, picked up the plants, brands and models worth preserving, kept or transferred many of the affected employees, and moved forward. The same process would have occurred with affected industry suppliers. The idea that a million jobs would have simply gone up in smoke if the government hadn't intervened is an urban legend, and its perpetuation sets a bad precedent the next time a favored industry gets in trouble.

Despite the obvious, Pants-on-Fire falseness of Earnest's claim about manufacturing jobs gains during the Obama administration, two key media outlets covering the Carrier situation relayed it without questioning it.

Here's the Associated Press, as reported by Josh Boak, Brian Slodysko and Julie Pace:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that Trump would have to replicate the Carrier deal 804 times to meet President Barack Obama's record. He said that Obama created 805,000 jobs in manufacturing and that the figure is much higher if existing jobs that have been protected are included.

Greg Korte and Maureen Groppe at USA Today, as carried at the Indianapolis Star, headlined Earnest's false claim:

White House: Trump needs 804 more Carrier deals

... Earnest touted President Barack Obama’s record on manufacturing, which he said had created 805,000 jobs over eight years. That doesn’t include jobs like Carrier’s that were saved.

“So, if he does that 804 more times, he will have matched the standard set by President Obama — at least when it comes to creating manufacturing jobs,” Earnest said.

Sorry, guys. The 805,000 manufacturing jobs were added during the past six years and eight months. During Obama's almost eight years, 303,000 have been lost.

The numbers are what they are, despite the press ignoring them and disgracefully allowing the Obama administration to lie about them.

Cross-posted at