Rush Limbaugh became the latest conservative media figure today to distort economic history in an effort to attack President Obama's jobs record, claiming that "it's standard" for the economy to add 400,000 or even 600,000 jobs per month following a recession. In fact, monthly job creation in excess of 600,000 has only occurred eight times since 1939.
Limbaugh was responding to the monthly jobs report released on Friday by the Labor Department, which showed that the economy grew by 163,000 jobs in July, compared with 64,000 in June. According to the report, unemployment increased by .1 percentage point to 8.3.
Limbaugh claimed that the economy needed to be growing by "400,000 or 500, even 600,000 jobs a month" following a recession, adding, "That's what's standard. That's what normal."
But adding "400,000 or 500, even 600,000 jobs a month" following a recession is neither "standard" nor "normal." According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 1983, monthly jobs growth has exceeded 400,000 a total of 14 times -- six times during Reagan's term and seven times under President Clinton. It has surpassed 500,000 three times since '83 (once each during Reagan, Clinton, and Obama's terms) and a total of 16 times since 1939.
Limbaugh later compared the current economic recovery with the economic situation under President Reagan -- a false comparison that has been denounced as "stupid" -- saying that "during this time in Reagan's first term," "we were creating 600,000 jobs a month."
Contrary to Limbaugh's claim, monthly job creation exceeded 600,000 only once during Ronald Reagan's two terms and only a grand total of eight times since 1939.