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Truth Squad: Obama touts job creation record

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:44 AM EST, Wed January 25, 2012

Editor's note: Part of the CNN political fact-checking series

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama discussed job numbers before and after he took office during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

The statement: "In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect. Those are the facts. But so are these. In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005."

The facts:

U.S. nonfarm employment stood at just more than 137 million jobs in July 2008, before the already-under-way recession turned into a nosedive following that September's financial crisis. By January, when Obama took office, the figure had fallen to about 133.5 million -- a loss of about 3.5 million jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Obama quickly pushed a nearly $900 billion economic stimulus measure through Congress, a measure economists projected would reverse or at least slow the collapse. But the economy continued to shed jobs until February 2010, with employment falling by an additional 4.3 million before the trend started back upward.

The U.S. economy created about 2 million private-sector jobs in 2011, according to the BLS -- a figure comparable to 2005, when 1.9 million jobs were created. And since job growth resumed, the economy has added about 3 million jobs.

The verdict: True. Obama accurately characterizes the up-and-down trend of his administration's record on jobs -- and his predecessor's. But as Republicans are quick to point out, the U.S. economy remains about 5 million jobs in the hole from the 2007 peak.

CNN's Matt Smith and Julie In contributed to this report.

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