Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
During a May 16, 2011, interview with Bloomberg television, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised President Barack Obama’s record on jobs while taking a shot at former President George W. Bush.
"We got in this situation where we had tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our country, which did not create jobs," she said. "In the first year of the Obama administration, more jobs were created in the private-sector than in the eight years of the Bush administration, with all of the tax cuts that President Bush had."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy shed almost 4.2 million private-sector jobs during the first year of the Obama administration -- January 2009 through January 2010.
Meanwhile, during eight years under Bush, the economy gained a net 188,000 private sector jobs.
So while job growth under Bush was anemic by historical standards, it was still better than the 4.2 million jobs lost under Obama. That means Pelosi was wrong.
A Pelosi spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, told PolitiFact that Pelosi simply misstated a talking point that she’d used many times before. In one variation provided by her office, Pelosi sent out a news release that said in part, "America has had 12 consecutive months of private-sector job gains totaling 1.5 million. That is more private-sector jobs than were added in the eight years of the Bush Administration."
But when we checked a similar incarnation of this talking point, we only gave it a Half True -- technically correct, but misleading due to cherry picking.
Pelosi was right that the economy created 847,000 jobs during the period she indicated. But she would have been incorrect if she’d cited total employment rather than private-sector employment. And she chose her starting and ending dates in a way that was highly favorable to Obama and unfavorable to Bush. Pelosi essentially started counting from the low point for jobs and only counted the upward part of the trendline, while denying Bush the same method.
This time, in talking to Bloomberg TV, Pelosi didn’t even get the statistic technically correct. So we rate it False.
PolitiFact, "Nancy Pelosi says more private sector jobs created in 2010 than in eight years under Bush," Oct. 26, 2010
PolitiFact, "Congresswoman says Democratic presidents create more private-sector jobs," Jan. 25, 2010
Office of the Democratic Leader, "February Jobs Report – GOP ‘So Be It’ Spending Bill Jeopardizes Our Economic Recovery," March 4, 2011
Interview with Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Nancy Pelosi, May 17, 2011
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.