Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

CNN Fact Check: About those 4.5 million jobs ...

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:12 PM EDT, Wed September 5, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Several speakers credited Barack Obama with an improved jobs picture
  • The 4.5 million figure is based on private-sector jobs added since 2010
  • But the U.S. economy is still down 400,000 jobs over Obama's tenure

(CNN) -- Anyone watching the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night heard the number 4.5 million several times.

"Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition, our president took action, and now we've seen 4.5 million new jobs," San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the party's keynote speaker, said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama's chief of staff, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who followed Obama's November rival Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts, both cited the same number.

Sights and sounds from the DNC

It's a big-sounding number, given the still-sputtering job market. So we're giving it a close eyeballing.

The facts:

The number Castro cites is an accurate description of the growth of private-sector jobs since January 2010, when the long, steep slide in employment finally hit bottom. But while a total of 4.5 million jobs sounds great, it's not the whole picture.

Watch full speech of Julian Castro
The Obama family takes to the stage as the gathering draws to a close on Thursday, September 6, the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. See the best photos from the Republican National Convention. The Obama family takes to the stage as the gathering draws to a close on Thursday, September 6, the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. See the best photos from the Republican National Convention.
Best of the DNC
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Best of the DNC Photos: Best of the DNC

Nonfarm private payrolls hit a post-recession low of 106.8 million that month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure currently stands at 111.3 million as of July.

While that is indeed a gain of 4.5 million, it's only a net gain of 300,000 over the course of the Obama administration to date. The private jobs figure stood at 111 million in January 2009, the month Obama took office.

And total nonfarm payrolls, including government workers, are down from 133.6 million workers at the beginning of 2009 to 133.2 million in July 2012. There's been a net loss of nearly 1 million public-sector jobs since Obama took office, despite a surge in temporary hiring for the 2010 census.

Meanwhile, the jobs that have come back aren't the same ones that were lost.

Are you better off?

According to a study released last week by the liberal-leaning National Employment Law Project, low-wage fields such as retail sales and food service are adding jobs nearly three times as fast as higher-paid occupations.

Conclusion:

The figure of 4.5 million jobs is accurate if you look at the most favorable period and category for the administration. But overall, there are still fewer people working now than when Obama took office at the height of the recession.

Full coverage of the Democratic National Convention

First lady seeks to reignite flame for the president

CNN's Matt Smith and Lindsey Knight contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:58 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
Although it has been over for nearly a year now, the war in Iraq continued to be a flash point in the final debate.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama made the case that al Qaeda in Pakistan is decimated while Mitt Romney argued they are on the rise in other countries.
updated 9:22 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of initially being against a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
The contention that President Obama apologized to other nations for American behavior has been mentioned repeatedly by his critics, including Mitt Romney.
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama asserted that it cost the United States less to help oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi than it did to run two weeks of the 2003-2011 war in Iraq.
updated 5:58 PM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama said Gov. Mitt Romney had criticized his administration for being too tough against China, and bringing a protectionist case at the World Trade Organization.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Sat October 20, 2012
Conservative critics launched an attack on moderator Candy Crowley after she corrected Romney's claim that Obama did not refer to the consulate attack in Benghazi as an "act of terror."
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Romney highlighted the number of women in the unemployment lines during President Barack Obama's term.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Obama said he identified the September 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack within a day; Romney said it took two weeks.
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Obama touted his administration's support for the federal Pell Grant program and other aid for college students.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Obama boasted that the Affordable Care Act gives insured women free contraception coverage, and said Romney thinks employers should decide whether women can get contraception through insurance.
updated 8:16 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Fears of a possibly nuclear-armed Iran took center stage early in the vice presidential debate between Biden and Ryan.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
The September attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya was the subject of a few claims at the VP debate.
updated 8:20 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Federal support for wind power and electric cars was one of the early flashpoints between Biden and Ryan.
updated 8:15 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
The Affordable Care Act emerged as an issue between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
ADVERTISEMENT