For those Democrats questioning whether to cut taxes, Gov. Chris Christie has a statistic to prove his "Jersey Comeback" is real: the Garden State in May created one out of every four net new jobs in the nation.
Christie offered that statistic during a June 14 press conference as one of the "real facts" Democrats should address.
"Fact is, it is time for a tax cut in this state," said Christie, according to a video posted June 15 on YouTube. "It is long overdue for a tax cut in this state, and I hope that today they stop with the make-believe and start addressing the real facts, which are that New Jersey is the single biggest job producer last month of any state in the country -- 25 percent of all the jobs created in the country right here."
But PolitiFact New Jersey found that Christie was making an invalid comparison of federal labor statistics.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced June 1 that the nation had seen a net increase of 69,000 nonfarm jobs in May, accounting for both job gains and losses. State officials said June 14 that New Jersey saw an over-the-month increase in May of 17,600 nonfarm jobs. Both figures are preliminary and seasonally adjusted.
Christie’s mistake was claiming that the 17,600 jobs in New Jersey were part of that 69,000 for the nation.
The most valid comparison would be to consider New Jersey’s 17,600 jobs as a share of the job gains across the country in May, according to Doug Hall, director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network at the Washington, DC-based Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.
In May, a total of 184,500 jobs were created in 27 states and Washington, D.C. Of that amount, New Jersey’s growth represents about 9.5 percent.
Those statistics, which were released by the bureau the day after Christie’s press conference, also show that California and Ohio saw greater job gains in May than New Jersey. So, Christie’s wrong to say "New Jersey is the single biggest job producer last month of any state."
Brian Murray, a spokesman with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, argued that at the time of the governor’s statement, Christie only had "the net national gain of 69,000 jobs against which to compare the state numbers."
"I understand your point that the comparison made is not recommended by the BLS," Murray said in an e-mail. "But I think you should consider that it was not until June 15, a day after the Governor made his remarks, that the public and Governor’s Office could have seen the full BLS numbers on national figures and other states like California."
Christie may not have had the additional labor statistics, but that doesn’t change the fact that he made a flawed comparison with the publicly available figures at his disposal.
At his June 14 press conference, Christie claimed New Jersey’s over-the-month increase of 17,600 jobs in May represented "25 percent of all the jobs created in the country."
The governor was comparing the state’s job growth to the national estimate of 69,000 net jobs created. But according to the bureau, state estimates and the national estimate are developed separately, making it wrong to compare the two.
We rate the statement False.
To comment on this ruling, go to NJ.com.