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At a campaign rally in Wisconsin on March 29, 2016, Donald Trump took aim at Gov. Scott Walker and -- reading from notes that he said came from "books" -- made a number of statistical claims that reflect negatively on the state.
The Republican frontrunner for president cast blame on the Republican governor and onetime presidential candidate, citing figures on state government debt and the number of people on food stamps.
But one of Trump’s most striking claims was about unemployment -- something Walker frequently takes credit for having brought down.
"Unemployment rate -- well, they say -- that can't be possible," Trump told a crowd in Janesville, looking at his notes. "Unemployment rate, they have down 20, that can't be possible."
As members of the audience interjected, Trump continued by saying:
"What? Is it 20 percent? Effective or regular? I mean just -- effective unemployment rate, 20 percent. Hey, this is out of the big book."
So, is Wisconsin’s "effective" unemployment rate 20 percent?
There is no official measure for the effective -- or as Trump on other occasions called it -- the "real" unemployment rate.
But even taking into account the federal government’s most expansive measure of unemployment, Wisconsin’s rate doesn’t even reach double digits.
Here’s what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics told us:
BLS has six measures of unemployment, ranging from U-1 -- the most restrictive -- to U-6 -- the most expansive.
In between is U-3, the official unemployment rate. That’s the one you see reported in the news most often.
The U-3 official unemployment rate in Wisconsin was 4.6 percent in 2015. That rate is updated monthly. The most recent rate, for February 2016, was also 4.6 percent.
The U-6 rate, meanwhile, is sometimes referred to unofficially as the "real" unemployment rate. U-6 includes people who are unemployed, plus "marginally attached workers," meaning those who are not in the labor force but want to work and are available for work. It also includes people who want to work full time but, because of economic conditions in their area, are able to work only part time.
The U-6 rate is calculated only annually. Wisconsin’s U-6 rate for 2015 was 8.3 percent -- again, far below Trump’s 20 percent.
Trump made a similar claim in June 2015 in announcing his run for president. He said the "real" unemployment rate for the United States at the time was "anywhere from 18 to 20 percent. Don't believe the 5.6. Don't believe it." (At the time, the official unemployment rate nationally was 5.5 percent.)
PolitiFact National rated that statement False, citing U-6 figures as we've cited.
Trump’s campaign staff didn’t respond for that fact check and, as of press time on this fact-check, had not responded to our requests for information.
Trump said Wisconsin’s "effective" unemployment rate is 20 percent.
Wisconsin’s latest official unemployment rate -- the one reported most often in the news -- was 4.6 percent in February 2016. It was also 4.6 percent for all of 2015.
The government’s most expansive unemployment rate -- which includes the unemployed, people in the labor force who aren’t looking for work and people who are working part time but want to work full time -- for Wisconsin was 8.3 percent for 2015.
We rate Trump’s statement False.
Wisconsin Eye, video (2:45) of Donald Trump campaign speech, March 29, 2016
Interview, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics press officer Stacey Flores, March 30, 2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Donald Trump numbers aimed at Scott Walker miss mark," March 30, 2016
PolitiFact National, "Donald Trump says ‘real’ unemployment rate is 18 to 20 percent," June 16, 2015
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