Missouri residents will head to the polls Nov. 6 to choose between re-electing their Democratic governor or tapping his Republican challenger for the job, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has another name for voters to keep in mind: President Barack Obama.
At a Sept. 23 rally in the Show-Me State for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence, Christie told the crowd a vote for Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is a vote for Obama. To make his case, the Republican governor argued that Nixon and Obama both have overseen job losses.
"Gov. Jay Nixon’s path here in Missouri is identical to the president’s path," said Christie, according to a YouTube video of his speech. "Fewer jobs in America today than when Barack Obama became president, fewer jobs in Missouri today than before Jay Nixon became governor.
"They are the same," Christie went on. "You vote for Jay Nixon, that’s a vote for President Obama. That’s not what Missourians want. You want Dave Spence as the next governor of Missouri."
But Christie is off target in attacking Obama over job losses.
Based on the most recent federal labor statistics, it’s accurate to say there are fewer jobs nationwide than there were in January 2009, when Obama was sworn in. But compared with February 2009 -- Obama’s first full month in office -- there has been a net increase of 463,000 jobs.
Christie's claim also ignores the fact that the nation has created more than 3.4 million jobs over 23 consecutive months of employment gains.
The governor’s office did not respond to two e-mails seeking comment.
Let’s break down the numbers.
Amid an ongoing recession, Obama took office in early 2009 at a time when the nation already had lost millions of jobs in the preceding year. The country continued to lose jobs each month until early 2010, when monthly job growth began to occur.
As of August 2012, the nation had seen 23 consecutive months of growth in total non-farm jobs, including both public- and private-sector employment, according to the most recent seasonally adjusted data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those gains totaled more than 3.4 million jobs.
The latest numbers show the nation had 133.3 million total jobs in August, representing the largest monthly total since January 2009, when Obama was sworn in. That figure is preliminary.
How does that figure compare to when Obama became president?
Well, compared to January 2009, there has been a net decrease of 261,000 jobs.
However, when we start counting in February 2009 -- Obama’s first full month in office -- the numbers tell a different story. Fast forward to August 2012, and we find a net increase of 463,000 jobs.
For an overview of total jobs and monthly changes between January 2009 and August 2012, check out the chart at the bottom of this page.
Still, as we’ve noted in previous stories, it’s wrong to completely credit or blame a president -- or a governor for that matter -- for job gains and losses. There are multiple factors involved beyond the control of the chief executive.
At a campaign rally in Missouri, Christie said there are "fewer jobs in America today than when Barack Obama became president."
If we start counting with January 2009, when Obama was sworn in, the governor’s claim is right. Between that month and August 2012, there has been a net decrease of 261,000 jobs.
But that figure is misleading. Starting with February 2009, which was Obama’s first full month in office, there has been a net increase of 463,000 jobs. Overall, the nation’s employment picture has been steadily improving with 23 consecutive months of total job growth.
Therefore, Christie’s claim "contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression." That meets our definition of Mostly False.
To comment on this ruling, go to NJ.com.
Total Non-Farm Jobs, January 2009 to August 2012
|Month||Total Jobs||Monthly Change|
|July 2012||133,204,000 (P)||141,000 (P)|
|August 2012||133,300,000 (P)||96,000 (P)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; P = preliminary