Mostly True
Has created 60,000 net new jobs since taking office.

Bob McDonnell on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 in a TV interview

Bob McDonnell says Virginia has gained 60,000 jobs since he came to office

It’s all about jobs, Gov. Bob McDonnell says.

During an Election Day interview, MSNBC  host Joe Scarborough hailed McDonnell as the "Elvis" of the job creation message that moved voters this fall. "You started this in 2009 before anyone got this," Scarborough told the governor, referring to McDonnell’s pledge to create jobs during his successful campaign last year.

McDonnell replied that since taking office in January, "we’ve been able to create about 60,000 net new jobs" in Virginia.

We checked the governor’s claim. Stacey Johnson, McDonnell’s press secretary, said the number comes from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Our next call went to the office of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who heads McDonnell’s jobs team. Randy Marcus, Bolling’s chief of staff, compiles the job-creation figures for the administration. Marcus said he takes the most current BLS monthly figure for non-farm jobs in Virginia. Then he subtracts the number of non-farm jobs in Virginia in February, McDonnell’s first full month in office. The remainder is what the administration considers to be Virginia’s net job gain under McDonnell. It encompasses full and part-time jobs in the public and private sectors.

We ran the computation, based on the latest BLS numbers that had been posted more than a week before McDonnell’s appearance on MSNBC. Here’s our result:

Virginia Workers, Sept. 2010        3,637,200
Virginia Workers, Feb. 2010         3,581,800
Net job gain under McDonnell            55,400

The governor’s claim of creating about 60,000 new jobs was a tad inflated, but certainly in the ballpark.

In July, McDonnell claimed 71,500 new Virginia jobs had been created since he took office. We checked those numbers and found them dead on. Much of the job loss since then can be attributed to the layoff of federal census workers.

McDonnell also said on MSNBC that only Texas has gained more jobs than Virginia since February. He’s right, according to BLS statistics. Texas has added 128,800 jobs since February.

Virginia has experienced a 1.55 percent increase in jobs since February. That ranks sixth, with the District of Columbia leading everyone with 2.38 percent growth.

McDonnell’s statement "we’ve" created about 60,000 jobs suggests all the new slots are the result of his administration’s actions.

"It’s not unique to the Governor, but it bothers me how all politicians take credit for creating jobs," said John Knapp, senior economist for the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at The University of Virginia. "Barack Obama is not president of the economy and Bob McDonnell is not governor of the economy. Of course, what they do can have a marginal effect on things, but there are many other elements involved in creating jobs."

Cooper added that state policies affect job creation development over the long run. "But as year or two out, new state policies are not going to have a major impact on the economy."

Johnson said it is not the McDonnell’s intention to claim credit for all new jobs under his watch. "It’s a cumulative effort," she said. It’s the private sector that creates jobs; government can merely help set a conducive climate."

Johnson said that when McDonnell said "we’ve" created about 60,000 net new jobs, "he was referring to Virginia."

So let’s review.

Has Virginia created "about 60,000 new jobs" since McDonnell came to office, as the governor claimed on Nov. 2? It depends how you measure "about." The correct number at the time was 55,400. The governor was a little bit off, but he wasn’t blowing smoke.

For that reason, we rate his claim Mostly True.