Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy disputed a guest's accurate claim that the economy has been on an “upward trajectory” under President Obama despite millions of jobs created in the private sector, part of an improving employment trend under Obama. Doocy's attack on the president's economic record also failed to note that the public sector job losses he and his Fox colleagues have celebrated remains the largest drag on the economy and has damaged the economic recovery.
On today's Fox & Friends, Doocy hosted a panel to discuss the economic situation before the Labor Department* released July's employment data. Bridget Siegel, a former finance director for 2004 presidential campaign, noted that “Obama has taken the economy in an ”upward trajectory" since taking. Doocy responded by asking "Is that true? Because I've heard and I've seen data that during this administration so far, given that so many jobs were lost, this administration has not created any net jobs
This job growth was heavily driven by the private sector, which added 3.212 million new jobs:
Doocy instead chose to fixate on “net jobs” created under Obama, but what Doocy failed to point out was that it is public sector job losses that have served as the critical drag on employment growth during the recovery. Right-wing media figures have cheered public sector job cuts and downplayed their significance on the economy. Since the end of the recession, the public sector has lost 627,000 jobs:
In a June 10 appearance on CBS' This Morning Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman noted these “cutbacks at the public sector are what's hurting the recovery.” He followed by explaining:
KRUGMAN: By this point in Obama's presidency, if we had normal public sector job growth, we would have around 800,000 more people. Firefighters, schoolteachers, police officers. Instead, we've got 600,000 fewer. So right there, it's like 1.4 million jobs that we should have had in the public sector. And, of course, those would have translated into more private sector jobs too.
Similarly, an April 5 Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report, found that unlike the recoveries from the 1981, 1990, and 2001 recessions, public sector employment has dropped significantly. Additionally, EPI found that had the public sector grown like it did during the previous three recessions, “these extra public-sector jobs would have helped preserve about 500,000 private sector jobs.” The report included a graph that shows the difference between the recovery from this latest recession and the previous three in terms of public sector employment:
The Obama administration attempted to mitigate the public sector's drag on the overall economy. In the September 2011 American Jobs Act, Obama called for $35 billion dollars to prevent the layoff of hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders. The overall bill would have created millions of jobs. Moody's Analytics' Mark Zandi, when the bill was proposed, estimated that the Jobs Act would create nearly two million jobs and grow the economy by 2 percent.
Despite the positive effect the Jobs Act would've had on the US economy, the bill was immediately attacked by right-wing media and ultimately filibustered by Senate Republicans. Since the bill was proposed in September 2011, the public sector has lost an additional 124,000 jobs.
*Updated for accuracy.