Friday, September 19th, 2014

Putting Chris Christie to the test on job creation

The job creation record of New Jersey's governor, Republican Chris Christie, was put under a microscope on the Oct. 2, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation."
The job creation record of New Jersey's governor, Republican Chris Christie, was put under a microscope on the Oct. 2, 2011, edition of CBS's "Face the Nation."

On the Oct. 2, 2011, edition of CBS’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer brought up one of the hottest political stories of the day -- the potential presidential candidacy of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who -- after months of denying the possibility of a run in the Republican presidential primary -- was reportedly considering whether to run after all.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, took some shots at Christie’s record since he took office in January 2010.

"When it comes to being effective at creating jobs, improving schools, and expanding opportunity, (Christie’s) record in New Jersey has not been a record of governing for effectiveness," O’Malley said. "His bond rating has been downgraded by two of the bond rating agencies. His unemployment in New Jersey is one of the higher unemployment rates in the country at 9.4 percent. Last year, New Jersey created no net new jobs. And his schools, because of the choices he's made to cut education funding, have actually been declining in their national ranking. So that's not a record of leadership and governance and effectiveness."

We decided to focus on the two jobs-related claims -- that "New Jersey (has) one of the higher unemployment rates in the country at 9.4 percent," and that "last year, New Jersey created no net new jobs."

On the first claim, we found that New Jersey had either the 15th or 16th highest unemployment rate nationally, depending on whether the District of Columbia is included. That's high, but not in the very top tier of struggling states. In addition, we noted that many factors go into a state's unemployment rate, and the governor's policies are only one of them. On balance, we rated the claim Half True.

On the second claim, we found that O'Malley was right that New Jersey created no net jobs "last year" -- that is, in 2010 -- but Christie would have fared better if O'Malley had carried out the calculations through August 2011 rather than cherry-picking just the first year of Christie's tenure. And in this item, we reiterated the point that Christie's policies were  not the only factors affecting jobs numbers in his state. Overall, we rated this claim Half True.