Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Looking at unemployment, education, Obama's approval rating

Laura Tyson (left on TV monitor) was one of several guests discussing the economy on ABC's This Week
Laura Tyson (left on TV monitor) was one of several guests discussing the economy on ABC's This Week

Another Sunday, another This Week. We've published three fact-checks from the Aug. 15, 2010, edition of This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

One is a comment on unemployment rates by Laura Tyson, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council under President Bill Clinton. "We have to worry about the longer-run problem of this structural employment," Tyson said, "because I'm going to point out one thing for this discussion. ... Unemployment for those with college educations is now 4.5 percent. Unemployment for those with more than a college education, below 4 percent. We have a problem of education in this country, and we have to educate more of our young people fully through college education. Let's take this as an opportunity to do that."

We looked at statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found her spot-on regarding the rate for college graduates and very close on the rate for those with more than a college degree. All told, we rated it Mostly True.

The second is the statement by Tyson that the United States is "number 14, number 15" in college graduation rates, and "we're leading the world in high school dropout rates."

We looked at statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 31 large, industrialized democracies, and found that Tyson is right on college graduation rates but off in her estimation of high-school dropout rates. On balance, we gave the statement a Half True.

Finally, we checked a statement by Matthew Dowd, a former political strategist for President George W. Bush. Dowd said that President Barack Obama's "approval numbers in this country are in the low 40s."

We looked at the 16 traditional telephone polls taken by independent pollsters in the past month and found that the average actually hovered around 45 percent approval in each of the past four weeks. But the two most recent polls found approval rates of 42 percent and 43 percent. So we gave Dowd a Mostly True.