Saturday, September 20th, 2014

On his way out, Goolsbee faces the Truth-O-Meter

Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Barack Obama, discussed recent job creation on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour." We checked some of his statistics.
Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Barack Obama, discussed recent job creation on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour." We checked some of his statistics.

Was getting fact-checked by PolitiFact twice yesterday what pushed Austan Goolsbee to announce his departure from a top administration job later that day?

We’re sure it isn’t the reason he’s leaving, but we did happen to check two comments made by Barack Obama's departing chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during an appearance on the June 5, 2011, edition of ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

On the heels of a disappointing jobs report, Goolsbee cast the best light he could on the administration’s economic record. He took to the airwaves two days after the government announced that the economy had created a net of only 54,000 jobs in May -- a number well below expectations and also below the number of jobs created in the previous few months.
   
One of Goolsbee’s statements touted the growth of manufacturing jobs during the Obama presidency, saying that "manufacturing is having its best employment year in almost 15 years."

We found that Goolsbee’s comment is mostly on target, though he didn't provide some important context -- that during Obama’s first year, the economy suffered manufacturing job losses that far exceed the jobs regained in 2010 and 2011. We rated his statement Mostly True.

Goolsbee’s other statement was that "over the last 15 months, we've added more than 2 million jobs in the private sector. That's far in excess of what it was in the comparable period after the last recession."

We found that job creation during the past 15 months did exceed the job creation seen in the previous recovery, which was easily the weakest in recent U.S. history. However, he used cherry picking to help make his point, ignoring the first eight months of the current recovery in his job count, a time when a significant number of jobs were lost. We rated Goolsbee's statement Mostly True.