FACT CHECK: Did April 2020 Have The Lowest Unemployment Rate In US History?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A viral post shared on Facebook over 19,000 times claims April 2020 had the lowest unemployment rate in American history, while also alleging President Joe Biden’s job plan costs $4 trillion.

Verdict: False

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows the lowest recorded monthly unemployment rate in U.S. history did not occur last year in April 2020, but rather decades ago. Biden’s American Jobs Plan is estimated to cost more than $2 trillion over 10 years.

Fact Check:

“Why do we need a $4 trillion jobs plan, when a year ago we had the lowest unemployment in history without using taxpayers money?” the April 23 Facebook post reads. (RELATED: How Many States Are Experiencing Record Low Unemployment?)

Biden has recently proposed two legislative packages: the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, according to The Washington Post. The American Jobs Plan focuses on infrastructure, manufacturing and job creation, while the American Families Plan centers around making education more affordable and reforming taxes to “rebuild the middle class,” according to the White House website.

The unemployment rate in April 2020 was not, however, the lowest in U.S. history. The unemployment rate in April 2020 was a record 14.8 percent, according to BLS data. The unemployment rate hit 3.5 percent for the first time in nearly 50 years in September 2019, according to Reuters. January and February 2020 also saw unemployment rates of 3.5 percent, BLS data shows.

While an unemployment rate of 3.5% in those three months was the lowest the U.S. had seen in years, it was not the lowest rate in U.S. history. Data from the BLS shows the lowest monthly unemployment rate in U.S. history between 1948 and 2021 was in May and June 1953, when the rate was 2.5 percent. The lowest yearly unemployment rate between 1929 and 2020 was 1.2 percent in 1944, according to BLS data.

Furthermore Biden’s American Jobs Plan is not expected to cost $4 trillion, as the Facebook post claims. The White House website says the plan will “invest about $2 trillion this decade.” The estimated cost for the American Jobs Plan is $2.65 trillion over 10 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and the Penn Wharton Budget Model estimates that the legislation would cost $2.7 trillion over 10 years.

The Facebook post may have confused the cumulative total for both of Biden’s plans, which will cost a total of some $4 trillion, Bloomberg News reported. The American Families Plan is estimated to cost about $1.8 trillion, according to the White House fact-sheet, though the Penn Wharton Budget Model estimates it will cost $2.5 trillion over 10 years.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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