FACT CHECK: Is Trump ‘Not Even Close’ To Being The Top Jobs President? [VIDEO]

David Sivak | Fact Check Editor

During an interview Thursday on MSNBC, the host claimed that President Donald Trump is “not even close to being the largest job creator” in his first six months as president.

Verdict: True

Trump ranks eighth out of the 13 most recent presidents in terms of the percent change in employment during his first six months in office. The comparisons of job creation between presidents should be treated with some caution.

Fact Check:

In an interview on “MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle,” Trump advisor Brad Thomas touted the jobs created under Trump. “What we’re seeing now is job creation,” Thomas said. “President Trump has created over a million jobs year to date.”

Job numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that since February – Trump’s first full month in office – the U.S. has added 1.1 million jobs over six months, a change of 0.7 percent.

MSNBC host Ali Velshi responded by downplaying the significance of the job numbers, arguing that they were nothing special relative to other U.S. presidents. “Donald Trump’s not even close to being the largest job creator in the first six months of his presidency,” Velshi claimed.

WATCH:

To investigate Velshi’s claim, The Daily Caller News Foundation compared job numbers reported by the government in the first six months of each presidency dating back to President Harry Truman, the first presidency for which data was available. We found that Trump ranks fourth out of 13 presidents in terms of total jobs.

Measuring in absolute numbers, however, may not be the best way to assess job creation among presidents. Although Trump ranks higher than President Lyndon Johnson, for example, the labor force has more than doubled in size since Johnson assumed office. Proportionally speaking, the 834,000 jobs created under Johnson were more substantial.

For this reason, TheDCNF based its verdict on the percent change in employment over the six-month span. Analyzed this way, Trump ranks eighth.

Nonetheless, Velshi incorrectly claims during the segment that Obama outperformed Trump in his first six months.

“I’ve given you evidence, Brad,” said Velshi. “Job creation is not as good under President Trump as it was under President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton in the first six months of their office.”

In reality, on both a percent change and nominal basis, Trump had higher job creation than Obama and President George W. Bush in their first six months.

These sorts of comparisons should, however, be taken with a grain of salt. While the government can take steps to influence the job market, the degree to which a given president is directly responsible for job creation is debatable.

It’s also difficult to compare presidents who governed in drastically different times. Obama assumed office in the midst of the Great Recession, while President Bill Clinton assumed office as a recession subsided.

In addition, employment trends during the first six months may differ from net gains or losses over an entire presidency. Obama ranks 12th for his first six months in office, but the U.S. would eventually add a total of 11.3 million jobs over his entire eight years.

Over a million jobs have been created every six months since 2012, a trend Velshi correctly points out.

Although Velshi gives the impression that the 1.1 million jobs created under Trump are nothing special, they’re still healthy jobs numbers.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, it takes 50,000 to 110,000 jobs a month to create a healthy labor market. The U.S. has averaged about 179,000 jobs a month under Trump.

In addition, economists consider the current unemployment rate of 4.3 percent to be “near maximum employment.” Robust gains in a time of low unemployment are harder to attain.

Presidents like to take credit for strong jobs numbers, and while Trump doesn’t lead the pack in his first six months in office, comparisons between presidents should always be treated with caution.

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David Sivak

Fact Check Editor

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