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President Joe Biden speaks during an event to promote his American Jobs Plan at the White House on April 7, 2021. (AP) President Joe Biden speaks during an event to promote his American Jobs Plan at the White House on April 7, 2021. (AP)

President Joe Biden speaks during an event to promote his American Jobs Plan at the White House on April 7, 2021. (AP)

By Laura Schulte September 21, 2021

Biden has overseen a large increase in jobs, but he’s not really the one creating them

If Your Time is short

  • There has been a large increase in the number of jobs since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021 

  • But the increase was marked by the rollout of vaccines, the reopening of businesses and a return to semi-normal after the coronavirus pandemic 

  • Also, presidents don’t really create jobs. There are many more factors at play in the economy. 

In recent months, many people have returned to work, but the pace of new jobs hasn’t quite matched expectations as the delta variant has sent hospitals reeling with new cases. 

So, the performance of the economy has been closely watched.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee on Sept. 3, 2021 took to Twitter to credit President Joe Biden with a historic upturn in the number of new jobs:

"President Biden has created more jobs in his first 7 months than any POTUS in history. During a pandemic. And an economic downturn. President Biden’s leadership is helping America bounce back and our economy recover. Democrats will continue moving us forward." 

For the purpose of this fact-check, we’re going to focus on the first part of that tweet -- that Biden has created more jobs than any other president in his first seven months in office. 

Is it true? And should Biden get the credit -- as Moore frames it -- for that increase.

Steep increase in jobs because of reopening businesses, vaccines 

When asked for backup for the claim, Moore’s staff sent us two links: the Sept. 3, 2021 economic update from the Joint Economic Committee, issued the day of Moore’s tweet, and data compiled by Federal Reserve Economic Data, which pulls its information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

First, let’s look at how many jobs have been created in 2021, starting in February, the first full month of Biden’s presidency, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • February: 536,000 new jobs

  • March: 785,000

  • April: 269,000

  • May: 614,000

  • June: 962,000

  • July: 1.1 million

  • August (latest month available): 235,000

That all adds up to about 4.5 million net new jobs added since Biden was sworn in. 

And that number is higher than any other president since the end of World War II, said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director for Moody’s Analytics. Here’s a breakdown of job growth (or loss) for the first seven months for those presidents, with the year their terms began: 

  • Joe Biden, 2021: gain of 4,454,000

  • Jimmy Carter, 1977: 2,385,000

  • Richard Nixon, 1969: 1,569,000

  • Bill Clinton, 1993: 1,412,000

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  • Donald Trump, 2017: 1,312,000

  • Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963: 964,000

  • George H.W. Bush, 1989: 959,000

  • John F. Kennedy, 1961: 615,000

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953: 345,000

  • George W. Bush, 2001: - 670,000

  • Ronald Reagan, 1981: -701,000

  • Gerald Ford, 1974: -1,971,000

  • Harry Truman, 1945: -2,450,000

  • Barack Obama, 2009: -3,570,000

So, Biden does top the list.

But in making the claim, Moore gave all the credit to Biden, when -- in reality -- many other factors are at work. In short, experts say too much credit -- and blame -- goes to presidents, governors and mayors for things out of their control.

"The increase in jobs is explained by the reopening of businesses and government and schools following shutdowns in 2020 due to the pandemic," said Koropeckyj of Moody’s. "Favorable fiscal policies have helped."

To be sure, Biden did sign the American Rescue Act, in March 2021, a massive stimulus plan that provided checks to all Americans, extended unemployment and expanded child tax credits.But much of the money meant to help states and businesses is still being distributed, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, so it’s hard to judge what impact that spending has had on the overall economy and jobs. 

In any case, the job growth began before Biden took office.

There had been monthly increases from May through November of 2020, followed by a drop in December 2020, then an increase of 233,000 jobs in January 2021. That’s evidence the economy was getting back on track before Biden did anything.

Presidents -- and other top officials --  love to measure their success by the success of the economy. 

But experts have long cautioned that though presidents hold a powerful position, they don’t really dictate the economy. 

For instance, Biden inherited an economy that was beginning to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and with vaccinations about to roll out for millions of Americans. With more people vaccinated and able to move about more freely, more money was being spent. That increased demand and the need for workers. And with vaccinations available, more went back to work.

In short, how you do as president depends a lot on where you start.

When you take office at the bottom of a recession with high unemployment numbers, you "achieve" a lot of growth as the economy heals, according to a Jan. 17, 2017 article in the New York Times. When you take office with a low level of unemployment and more job growth, there is often nowhere to go but down. 

Our rating 

Moore claimed that Biden has "created more jobs in his first 7 months than any POTUS in history." 

As is typical with such claims, Moore is on target with the numbers -- though, we’d note the increase in jobs began before Biden took office -- but gives too much credit to Biden for his role in something that is largely out of his control.

Our definition for Half True is: "The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

That fits here. 


Our Sources

Gwen Moore, Twitter, Sept. 3, 2021

Joint Economic Committee, "Economic Update," Sept. 3, 2021

Federal Reserve Economic Data, "All employees, total nonfarm," Sept. 2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The Employment Situation, Aug. 2021," Sept. 3, 2021

Email interview with Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of Moody’s Analytics, Sept. 20, 2021

U.S. Department of the Treasury, "Coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funds," Sept. 21, 2021

New York Times, "Presidents have less power over the economy than you might think," Jan. 17, 2017

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More by Laura Schulte

Biden has overseen a large increase in jobs, but he’s not really the one creating them

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