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One of the big themes of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., has been a celebration of what President Barack Obama did to help the automobile industry when it was teetering on the edge of financial collapse in early 2009.
Bob King -- president of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, better known as the UAW -- emphasized that point in his speech to the convention on Sept. 5, 2012.
"President Obama took action, putting together a rescue team, demanding real change and real sacrifice from everyone involved — from management, from labor, from suppliers, from debt-holders, from dealers, from everybody involved," King said. "It was not universally popular, but it was absolutely right. President Obama's strong leadership saved a million jobs. Since June 2009, this industry has added a quarter of a million jobs, and the auto industry is thriving again. These are good, middle-class jobs in glass, in plastics and steel—jobs making things for an economy built to last."
With Detroit’s comeback such a big topic at the convention, we thought it was worth checking to see if that was accurate.
We turned to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government’s official source of employment data.
There are two categories relevant to this analysis. One is "motor vehicles and parts manufacturing." Since June 2009, seasonally adjusted employment in this sector has increased by 165,100 jobs.
The second category is "motor vehicle and parts dealers." Over the same period, employment in that sector increased by 84,500.
Add these two figures together and you get 249,600 jobs -- almost exactly a quarter million.
With statements such as these, PolitiFact considers not just whether the statement is statistically accurate, but also whether the politician or party in question deserves the credit or blame attributed to it.
In this case, determining Obama’s precise role in aiding the auto industry is more a matter of opinion than fact, but experts have told us for other articles that Obama’s leadership was crucial, along with help from some Republicans. So we think it’s reasonable to credit Obama’s "strong leadership" with a role in producing these numbers.
The data will change once new jobs figures are released on Sept. 7, 2012. But at the time King made the statement, his data was correct. We rate his statement True.
Bob King, speech to the Democratic National Convention, Sept. 5, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National) -- Motor vehicle and parts dealers," accessed Sept. 6, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National) -- Motor vehicles and parts," accessed Sept. 6, 2012
Interview with Michele Martin, director of public relations for the UAW, Sept. 5, 2012
Email interview with Jason Kuruvilla, spokesman for the Department of Labor, Sept. 6, 2012
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