Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

PolitiFact New Jersey tests claims on employment rate, college tuition

PolitiFact New Jersey fact-checked statements from U.S. Rep. Albio Sires and state Sen. Jennifer Beck.
PolitiFact New Jersey fact-checked statements from U.S. Rep. Albio Sires and state Sen. Jennifer Beck.

Some misspoken words resulted in a less-than-favorable rating this weekend on the Truth-O-Meter for a Republican state senator.

In case you missed it, the Truth-O-Meter on Sunday handed down a False to state Sen. Jennifer Beck for a claim about the rate of employed New Jerseyans. On Monday, the Truth-O-Meter gave U.S. Rep. Albio Sires a Mostly True for his claim about college tuition cost increases.

Beck claim

Beck, a Republican from Monmouth County, said during a budget hearing on the Senate floor that New Jerseyans are working at the "highest rate" in three years. The problem with Beck’s statement is that rate and raw numbers are not the same.

Though the number of New Jerseyans working as of May is the highest since February 2009, rate is typically expressed as per unit of something. And the level of employment in New Jersey decreased over the same three-year period when the numbers are expressed as a percentage.


Sires claim

College tuition has spiked 28 percent in the past decade, according to Sires (D-13th Dist.), who cited that figure during a June 20 speech on the House floor. But tuition has actually jumped by 72 percent at public four-year colleges, PolitiFact New Jersey found. Sires’ spokeswoman told us the congressman had the time element wrong. He meant to say during the past five years tuition at those colleges has climbed 28 percent.

Your ideas

The November election is closer than you think. If you see, hear or read a claim by a candidate or public official that you think is worthy of a fact-check, e-mail the claim to us at politifactnj@starledger.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

To comment on this story, go to NJ.com.