Rove propagates public misconception about job losses

In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove forwarded the falsehood that President Obama's economic policies have not slowed job losses, citing it as one of his “failures.” In fact, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show several months of positive job growth, and independent analysts predicted unemployment rates would have been higher without the stimulus.

Rove advances falsehood that Obama has failed to slow job losses

Rove cites poll that shows 57 percent believe Obama's policies failed to “slow the record pace of job losses.” From Rove's June 24 column:

On the economy, a mid-June AP poll reported that Mr. Obama has 45% approval, 50% disapproval. That's a dangerous place for any president when jobs are issue No. 1.

The problem is worse in swing areas. Last week's National Public Radio (NPR) poll of the 60 Democratic House seats most at risk this year showed just 37% of voters in these districts agreed Mr. Obama's “economic policies helped avert an even worse crisis and are laying a foundation for our eventual economic recovery”; 57% believed they “have run up a record federal deficit while failing to end the recession or slow the record pace of job losses.”


Mr. Obama's failures mean he can't lift his party by campaigning. A Public Policy Poll earlier this month reported that 48% said an Obama endorsement would make them less likely to vote for the candidate receiving it, while only one-third said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the president.

BLS data show positive job growth in 2010

BLS data show job losses ended and employers have added jobs each month since January 2010. From a June 4 BLS press release:

Independent analysts agree with White House: Unemployment would be higher, GDP lower without stimulus. In a quarterly report issued April 14, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimated that “as of the first quarter of 2010, the [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.2 and 2.8 million. These estimates are similar to those of other analysts, and are broadly consistent with the direct recipient reporting data available for 2009:Q4.” From CEA's quarterly report:

In the same report, CEA stated: “The two CEA methods of estimating the impact of the fiscal stimulus suggest that the ARRA has raised the level of GDP as of the first quarter of 2010, relative to what it otherwise would have been, by between 2.5 and 2.9 percent. These estimates are very similar to those of a wide range of other analysts.”

Wall Street Journal: 70 percent of economists surveyed said stimulus helped. The Wall Street Journal reported on March 12 that 38 of the 54 economists it surveyed “said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted growth and mitigated job losses, while six said the legislation had a net negative effect.”

ABC News: Most on panel of economists “think the economy would be worse” without the stimulus. ABC News reported on February 18 that “most” of the economists on its panel “think the economy would be worse today without the big aid package, which totaled $787 billion and was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009.”

NABE: 83 percent say stimulus raised GDP. A February survey of 203 members of the National Association for Business Economics [NABE] found that, "[e]ighty-three percent believe that GDP is currently higher than it would have been without the 2009 stimulus package (ARRA)."

USA Today: Surveyed economists said “stimulus package saved jobs.” USA Today reported on January 25:

President Obama's stimulus package saved jobs -- but the government still needs to do more to breathe life into the economy, according to USA TODAY's quarterly survey of 50 economists.

Unemployment would have hit 10.8% -- higher than December's 10% rate -- without Obama's $787 billion stimulus program, according to the economists' median estimate. The difference would translate into another 1.2 million lost jobs.