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President Obama cherry-picks job facts during State of the Union

During the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Barack Obama stretched the facts a bit to make himself look better on an issue central to all Americans: the economy.

After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs,” Obama declared during his nationally televised address Tuesday night.

But it is a selective number, used to make the recovery from the recession look stronger than it has been.  The 6 million new jobs figure starts counting from the time job losses were highest, around February 2010.  It ignores the fact that nearly five million jobs were lost during the first year of Obama’s presidency.

So taken all together, the number of new jobs added since Obama took office is a much smaller 1.9 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  And despite some complaints that the government is growing by leaps and bounds, some areas have been hemorrhaging jobs.  So including public sector job losses, only about 1.2 million jobs have been added since Obama started.

For padding his economic accomplishments with some selective math, President Obama earns the latest Whopper of the Week, a distinction awarded by the Washington Guardian to call attention to stretched facts and small fibs spoken by politicians.

The president did the hit the factual mark carefully on some of his other claims in his speech, which makes the 6 million claim stand out all the more. For instance, the commander-in-chief declared “after shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.

It’s true, and the manufacturing sector shows strong signs of recovery. And this time the president was careful to limit his claim to “over the past three” years.  That’s because labor statistics show manufacturing jobs are still roughly 600,000 less than what they were when he was sworn in in 2009.

Obama made one other notable boast in his address that set off alarms with the fact checkers, claiming his administration had doubled the fuel efficiency of cars. While it’s true automakers have agreed to double the average fuel efficiency of cars to 54.5 miles per gallon, it’s not slated to happen until 2025, long after Obama has left office. And right now, those cars are a far away from the goal.


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