Hannity misleadingly claimed unemployment "lower than the '70s, '80s, and '90s"

››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

Sean Hannity claimed that the current unemployment rate "is literally ... lower than the '70s, '80s, and '90s." But while the current unemployment rate is, in fact, lower than the average unemployment rate for the 1990s it is higher than in 1998, 1999, and 2000 -- the last three years before President George W. Bush took office.

On the March 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity misleadingly claimed that the current unemployment rate "is literally ... lower than the '70s, '80s, and '90s." But while the current unemployment rate is, in fact, lower than the average unemployment rate for the 1990s, it is higher than in 1998, 1999, and 2000 -- the last three years before President George W. Bush took office.

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 4.8 percent and that the average unemployment rate for 2005 was 5.1 percent. The average unemployment rate for the 1990s was 5.8 percent.

As the graph below illustrates, the BLS reports that the annual average unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent in 1992, the last full year of President George H.W. Bush's term. The unemployment rate declined every year during Bill Clinton's presidency, falling to 4.5 percent in 1998 and 4.2 percent in 1999 -- both lower than current unemployment. The unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in 2000 -- Clinton's last full year in office.

As the graph shows, the unemployment rate rose to 6.0 percent during the first three years of George W. Bush's presidency. It has declined since then but remains higher than when Bush took office.

From the March 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: I want to ask you a political question about the president. You know something, [syndicated columnist] Bob [Novak]? Nearly five million new jobs have been created and just a little under 4-percent growth last year for the economy. We've out -- the president has gotten out of the recession, the negative impacts of 9-11. If you look at the jobless rate, it is literally -- the percentage -- lower than the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The president -- comparing it to the European Union and Japan, we are in far better shape. I don't understand one thing. Why isn't the message of success on the economy, the message of success in Afghanistan and Iraq, why does it not seem to be getting out that much?

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
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