Optimism about New Jersey’s economy abounds with Gov. Chris Christie.
The Republican governor said regardless of a growing unemployment rate in New Jersey, which he argued is climbing because more people are actively seeking work, the numbers show more New Jersey residents are finding jobs.
"What I look at every month is how many more New Jerseyans are back to work. You have another 9,900 last month that are back to work and over almost 90,000 that are back to work now since I became governor," Christie said during a July 23 news conference. "That's a positive for the state."
Christie repeated part of the claim during a radio interview the next day.
"So I absolutely believe the New Jersey comeback has begun. It hasn't arrived completely. It's begun. And ask the 90,000 people who are employed today in New Jersey who were not employed when I became governor whether the comeback [has] begun for them," Christie said on New Jersey 101.5 FM’s "Ask the Governor" program.
During the press conference and radio interview the governor cited job numbers prior to the statements we’re fact-checking here. But he then characterizes those jobs gains as residents going back to work and that’s not accurate.
Jobs do not equal people. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics counts jobs by a different method than it counts employed residents.
So it’s possible for a state to gain jobs, but still have fewer employed residents
That’s what happened in June.
The state gained 9,900 jobs overall last month, including public- and private-sector employment. But 17,000 fewer New Jersey residents were employed in June than May.
More people have found work since Christie took office, but not as many as the governor claimed.
Christie said 90,000 people found work during his time in Trenton. That figure actually represents the number of private-sector jobs -- 89,700 -- New Jersey has added since February 2010, Christie’s first full month in office.
Over the same time frame, nearly 39,000 New Jersey residents found employment, less than half the figure Christie cited.
So what gives?
A job created in a state does not mean an unemployed resident returned to work.
The federal labor department counts jobs through a survey of employers called the payroll survey. "We don't know how many people that represents," said Gary Steinberg, a spokesman for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, because a person may hold more than one job.
To count the number of employed residents, the federal labor department relies on a survey of households. In that survey, individuals are classified as employed, unemployed or not in the labor force by their place of residence, even if their job is in another state.
And by that measure, Christie’s figures for the number of New Jersey residents who have returned to work are off.
Brian Murray, a spokesman for the state labor department, said: "On every other occasion for the past week during which the Governor has addressed this topic in public, he has correctly stated that we gained 9,900 jobs in June and nearly 90,000 jobs since his first full month in office. To pounce on this is ridiculous and petty."
Christie said that 9,900 New Jerseyans returned to work in June and almost 90,000 residents are "back to work now since I became governor."
Christie wrongly represents job gains as individuals returning to work. The federal labor department counts jobs and employed people in separate surveys. It’s possible for jobs to go up while the number of employed people goes down.
Some 17,000 fewer New Jersey residents were employed in May than June, despite 9,900 new jobs created last month.
Since February 2010, the first full month Christie was in office, nearly 39,000 -- not 90,000 -- people found employment in New Jersey.
We rate this claim False.
To comment on this ruling, to go NJ.com.
The Star-Ledger, Governor Responds to Rise in Unemployment, July 23, 2012
YouTube, Governor Christie: The New Jersey Comeback Has Begun, It Is Not Finished, July 23, 2012
New Jersey 101.5 FM, Ask the Governor, July 24, 2012
Interview with Gary Steinberg, spokesman for U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 25, 2012
Interview with Barry Huston, economist with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 25, 2012
New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Seasonally adjusted statewide nonagricultural wage salary employment, accessed July 23, 2012
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment, Hours, and Earnings - State and Metro Area
(Current Employment Statistics - CES), accessed July 23, 2012
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: How the Government Measures Unemployment, accessed July 23, 2012
PolitiFact New Jersey, Democrat-backed One New Jersey claims the state has lost jobs since Gov. Chris Christie took office, Aug. 1, 2011
New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Payrolls Increase for the Ninth Time in Last Ten Months; Employers add 9,900 Jobs in June, July 19, 2012
The Star-Ledger, Gov. Christie puts positive spin on N.J.'s jobs numbers, July 23, 2012
PolitiFact Wisconsin, Miller says nearly 14,000 Wisconsinites have lost their job since Governor Walker and the Republicans took over in January, Oct. 19, 2011
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Technical Note, accessed July 25, 2012
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